STU: Allow schools in Sarawak to reopen in stages to reduce risk of Covid-19 spreading through schools

Adam Prakash Abdullah

MIRI (April 5): Teachers and school administrators have called on the state government to prudently allow schools to be opened in stages to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading through schools in Sarawak.

Sarawak Teachers Union president (STU) Adam Prakash Abdullah said the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) should consider this move instead of a blanket reopening of schools which comes with unknown risks.

STU applauded the step taken by the Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee in reopening the secondary and primary schools in stages in Sibu Division beginning today,

Although schools have been ordered to adopt strict standard operating procedures (SOP), STU is concerned over the risk posed by the high number of infections cases reported, vulnerability of teachers, big student population and many schools being in red zone areas.

“Covid-19 pandemic in most districts and divisions are quite alarming lately especially the past few days and such decision is deem necessary to avoid unwanted cased happening in schools,” he said in a statement,

STU have received many requests and suggestions from school administrators and teachers to urge the state government especially SDMC to consider and implement the opening of schools in stages and to continue the teaching and learning from home as carried out previously,

Adam pointed out that since parents, teachers and students have invested in gadgets for home learning, they will be able to continue the teaching and learning process from home.

“SDMC should assess the situation carefully and effectively in order to avoid the spread of the pandemic through school institutions,” he said.

While STU will continue to monitor the pandemic situation, it called on all school administrators and district officers to provide accurate information to the Ministry of Health so that immediate measures can be taken to curb the spread of the pandemic and to decide whether schools are safe to operate or otherwise.

It also called on SDMC to give top priority for all teachers and education officers in the state to be vaccinated urgently for them to discharge their duties with a peace of mind, feeling safe and confident while discharging their duties and taking care of their students.

“At the moment these teachers are wondering why they are not put on the priority list when they are the most vulnerable during the schooling session.,” he said.

STU had made the call for teachers to be given top priority to be vaccinated in February this year, pointing out that teachers will be exposed to returning students coming from different places and be at a high risk of being exposed to Covid-19 when schools re-open.

Sarawak recorded the highest number of new Covid-19 infections in the country yesterday with 419 from the total of 1,349 new cases reported in the country.

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