PETALING JAYA: The head of a parents’ group has suggested that limits be placed on the number of school children allowed back in schools over fears that the simultaneous reopening of schools on Jan 20 would pose health risks.
Mak Chee Kin, head of the Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education, said there was no need for all students to return to school.
“We suggest the education ministry study which students should be allowed to return first. For me, it should be the upper primary and upper secondary classes.
“Or perhaps only those who face difficulties in accessing online learning. With fewer students in school, there should be enough resources and room to break classes into smaller groups, better ensuring the safety of students and teachers,” he said.
Former prime minister Najib Razak had urged that schools be allowed to reopen only until after the Chinese New Year break because of the rise in Covid-19 cases and the flooding in several states.
All public and government-assisted schools are scheduled to reopen on Jan 20.
Mak said there was no guarantee that the Covid-19 situation would improve after the festivities. He said the government should take a more decentralised approach and empower states to decide and plan what is best for their schools.
National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan said the closure of schools is best left to the education ministry which has all the relevant data and information to make an informed decision.
“Teachers welcome any teaching methods that can ensure the best for the students (in the event of school closures), but the problem is there is very little research on this.”
Parent Action Group for Education secretary Tunku Munawirah Putra said closure of schools should be area-specific and that in areas that are not red zones, schools should remain open with tighter rules in place.