PETALING JAYA: Two groups of education activists have voiced their opposition to any plan to close schools to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Spokesmen for the Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) and the Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) told FMT they believed there were other ways of addressing the problem of rising cases of infection among children.
“Parents need to listen to health experts and get their booster shots, and they have to make sure their children get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Magpie chairman Mak Chee Kin.
He also said all teachers and other school employees should take RTK-antigen tests once a week to curb school clusters.
PAGE chairman Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said the upcoming school holidays might cause a halt in education clusters.
“The school holidays will run from Feb 26 to March 20 before the new academic year begins,” she said. “There is, therefore, no need for schools to close.”
Health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said last week there had been a 160% increase in Covid-19 cases involving children since the start of the month. He attributed the rise to the reopening of schools after the recent school break.
Yesterday, health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah noted a sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 education clusters, with 92 reported in the last week compared to 61 the week before.
He said the Crisis Preparedness and Response Centre recorded 367 education clusters from Jan 1 to Feb 19, with 346 still active.
Mak, noting that students had already lost two years of learning and socialising with their peers due to school closures, said it would be “impractical” to close schools once again.
“While we are very concerned about the spike in Covid-19 cases among school children, we have to realise that the virus is here to stay,” he said.
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