Press Statement By Irene Chang:
The State Government and SDMC have to heed the worries and concerns of Sarawakian parents and local leaders on the reopening of schools amid the surging numbers of positive Covid 19 cases in the state. Following the SOP for areas under MCO, the schools in Sibu shall not be physically opened for the next two weeks until the 29 th January 2021, except for those in examination classes. Even so, it is most unlikely that the virus would be contained within these 2 weeks.
Given the scenario, the least of what the State Government now has to do for the people is to intervene on their behalf and appeal to the Federal Ministry of Education to defer the physical reopening of schools in the State and to go for virtual learning as much as possible.
Since last year before the school year closed in November, it has been proven that the SOPs as provided by the Ministry of Education was perfect on paper but was however quite impossible to comply with. This was because it was always challenging for students, especially the restless primary school students to keep the mask on for the whole day. The State government also has to take note that the Health Director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had previously stated that a total of 1,257 students have been detected with Covid 19 from September 20 until October 21. Out of that, 46.7% were from primary schools while 53.3 % were from secondary schools.
And for the first time since the pandemic hit our shores last year, we have so many red zones and clusters in the state. And from the list of infected premises which has been released by SDMC every day, it is undeniable that the virus is widespread and out of control. And what is the most worrying is the fact that from the press statements released by SDMC every day, there were some cases where the index case or sources of some of the local transmission were still untraceable.
The State Government therefore owes a duty to keep her students and people safe and to write to the Federal Government to either defer the physical reopening of all the schools in the red zones and not only the examination classes, until the virus is contained within the state.