Two schools in Lawas closed after teachers test positive for Covid-19

Mohamad speaking at a press conference at SKPK Kuching on Oct 4, 2021.

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Oct 4: Two schools in Lawas were directed to close from today until Oct 6 after three teachers tested positive for Covid-19.

Deputy Education Minister II Datuk Mohamad Alamin said the affected schools are SMK Trusan and SMK Merapok.

“Yesterday, a directive has been issued for two schools in Lawas to close today. This is because after carrying out a screening test, two teachers at SMK Merapok and one teacher at SMK Trusan were found positive for the virus.

“Therefore, we have taken the necessary action whereby the Ministry of Health (MOH) has asked the schools to close until Oct 6. I believe this is considered an isolated case.

“We hope this matter won’t be prolonged and we hope the schools can return back to operate as soon as possible,” he said at a press conference during his work visit at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pendidikan Khas (SKPK) Kuching today.

Mohamad also mentioned that he is happy with the overall attendance of students on the first day of the schooling term today.

At SKPK Kuching, 61 out of 89 students or 69 per cent attended classes. Meanwhile, SMK St Thomas recorded 86.2 per cent attendance of 111 registered Form Six students.

“This shows a good turnout and a sign that our students are ready to attend classes although we are also informed by SMK St Thomas that the absentees involve those categorised as close contacts.

“Some of the students have also finished quarantine but their parents decided to not send their children to school for the time being,” he added.

He further urged parents to allow their children to attend school because the schools have taken the necessary safety measures and complied with all the guidelines laid out by the Ministry of Education and MOH.

Touching on the 3,000 teaching vacancies in Sarawak, Mohamad said the Education Service Commission (SPP) is currently conducting interviews for the one-off teacher recruitment to fill more than 18,000 slots.

“What I can tell you is that we will discuss with Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin to give priority to Sabah and Sarawak in the allocation of over 18,000 teaching slots. We will ask for this so that it can assist in solving the lack of teachers issue in the State,” he emphasised.

At the same time, State Education director Dr Norisah Suhaili said there are less than 1 per cent of unvaccinated teachers in Sarawak which only consist about 100 individuals out of 39,000 teachers in the State.

“Some cases of unvaccinated teachers are due to health factors such as cancer while some declared that they are not ready. We will continue to engage with them and to educate them on the vaccination programme,” she said. – DayakDaily