Stranded teachers may prevent Sarawak schools reopening on June 24

Sarawak Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin says all returning teachers and their dependents will have to undergo quarantine procedures. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin said some schools in the state may not be able to resume on June 24 due to a lack of teachers.

This is because most of them — 2,664 — are from the peninsula, Sabah and Labuan and they are unable to report for duty in the state because of limited flights and expensive airfares.

Manyin said this following the announcement by Education Minister Radzi Jidin on the reopening of schools on June 24 for Form Five and Six students sitting for major government examinations.

Manyin said 2,664 teachers were supposed to report for duty at their respective schools in Sarawak on June 9 but many of them were unable to do so due to a limited number of flights into the state and high costs.

Michael Manyin

“However, the state government, with the assistance of Sarawak Volunteers, an NGO, is working with the ministry and the airlines to bring these teachers and their dependents back to Sarawak before June 20.

“All returning teachers and their dependents will have to undergo strict testing and quarantine procedures before they are allowed to go to the schools.

“Those teachers who are serving in the town may undergo self-quarantine but those who are serving in the rural areas will be quarantined at hotels for 14 days. The cost will be borne by the state government,” he said at a press conference here today.

Manyin said parents need not worry about sending their children to school.

The education ministry has also provided a special allocation of RM4.6 million for the schools in Sarawak to make necessary purchases, such as thermometers and hand sanitisers, and for general cleaning of the schools.

Three schools — two in Kota Samarahan and one in Kuching — that had positive cases of Covid-19 have been fully sanitised, he added.

Although a recent survey by the state Education Department had indicated that almost all the schools in Sarawak were ready to reopen, Manyin said officers from his ministry and district education officers would be visiting all the 188 schools from Monday to ensure they were ready to be reopened on June 24.

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