MOE still looking into reusable face masks option for students

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Aug 4: The Ministry of Education (MOE) is still studying and discussing with various parties about the option of reusable face masks for students in schools.

Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said that the Reopening of Schools Management guidelines did not require the mandatory use of face masks.

“But we encourage the wearing of face masks in schools. At this moment, we are still discussing with various parties on reusable face masks in schools and new development, if any, will be made known to the public in the near future,” he informed the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

He was responding to Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) on whether the Ministry will make wearing face masks mandatory in schools.

On closure of all schools in Covid-19 red zones, Mohd Radzi explained that the decision on appropriate measures to be taken will be made on a case-by-case basis according to the risk assessment and management conducted by the MOE together with relevant stakeholders including State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) as well as Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Security Council (NSC).

“We decide on a case-by-case basis, if there is a need to close schools in high-risked areas, we are ready. But the decision will be made based on professional advice from MOH and NSC,” he replied if schools in Sabah would be closed following two students infected with Covid-19.

“The case is different such as in Sarawak where 213 schools were delayed from reopening while Kedah only involved five schools in targetted areas,” he added.

After the inter zone travel restriction that was imposed in Sarawak on July 29, Mohd Radzi said that the Ministry also agreed with SDMC on delaying the reopening of schools in Kuching, Samarahan and Padawan until Aug 17.

“There are 87 schools in Kuching, 99 schools in Padawan and 27 schools in Samarahan involved. However, sessions for pre-schools as well as Forms Five and Six carried on as usual in the three districts,” he added.

He pointed out that the case in Kedah was different as the state government has implemented the Targetted Enhancement Movement Control Order (TEMCO) in four sub-districts namely Mukim Ah, Mukim Hosba, Mukim Binjal and Mukim Padang Terap starting from Aug 2 to 30.

“As such the Kedah State Education Department decided to close five schools under Kubang Pasu and Padang Terap from Aug 2 to 29,” he said.

Mohd reiterated that the respective SDMC together with other stakeholders will assess before discussing and implementing the most suitable measures to tackle and manage the Covid-19 situation.

“It is not necessary that only schools in the red zone will be closed, but if there is a need to close schools in other zones such as in Kedah (which has yet to become red zone) but we decided to close certain schools to curb the Covid-19 transmission,” he said in responding to Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching) on the criteria to postpone the reopening of schools.

MOE, he gave assurance, will always prioritise the health and safety aspects of students, teachers and staff in schools. —DayakDaily