Poser over safety at schools when classes resume

PETALING JAYA: With schools set to reopen on Jan 20, the worry is whether teachers and students will be provided a safe environment to teach and learn.

Getting over 450,000 teachers tested for Covid-19 will be costly and it will not guarantee that schools will be free from the threat of infections, said Parent Action Group for Education yesterday.

“We are concerned for the students but testing 450,000 teachers involves a major exercise and funding. Teachers who have been contact-traced could be screened ahead of schools reopening,” its chairman, Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, told theSun.

She pointed out that even if teachers test negative for the virus, they could get infected later.

Noor Azimah said she is not confident with Senior Minister (Education) Dr Radzi Jidin’s assurance that standard operating procedures (SOP) will be adhered to as they were poorly enforced last year.

“Until there is accountability, everyone will keep passing the buck. How can he be sure that it will be safe this time around?”

Radzi said on Tuesday that teachers were not required to undergo Covid-19 screening and he was confident lessons would be held in a safe environment if all complied with the SOP.

Earlier, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said exceptions were granted to exam- year students, including SPM 2020 and SPM 2021 candidates, although tight movement restrictions were in place in states that were under the movement control order (MCO).

The National Union of the Teaching Profession said postponing examinations will prolong the stress among parents who are worried about their children’s future.

Psychologist Prof Datin Dr Mariani Md Nor said if SPM and other public examinations are postponed again, students’ determination will be affected and they will be demotivated.

“Despite the MCO, exams must go on as this will greatly affect students and their parents mentally. They will feel disturbed, anxious, angry and this will lead to mental health disturbances,” she said.

Mariani urged parents to support their children. “They have gone through so much, and the only thing they need is emotional support.”

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