PETALING JAYA, Aug 6 — A special education teacher in Sandakan, Sabah went above and beyond his duties to provide free face masks to his students recently.
Fazri Hassan posted on Twitter yesterday about a student who could not afford to buy a new face mask and ended up reusing a disposable one that had already been dirtied and soiled.
“Today, I set aside some time to talk to my students about wearing a face mask in crowded areas.
“I was speechless for a moment when I noticed that one of the students was wearing a mask that looked dirty and the ear loops had even been sewn back on,” Fazri wrote.
After asking his students about the issue, Fazri found out that there were others in the same boat who only changed their mask after using it for two or three days to save money.
Hari ini saya ambil sedikit masa berbincang dgn murid mengenai pemakaian pelitup muka ketika berada di dalam kawasan yang sesak. Terdiam seketika saya apabila melihat pelitup muka seorang murid kelihatan kotor dan siap berjahit lagi tali dia. pic.twitter.com/5LQevPvKAm— فزري حسن (@fazri_hassan) August 5, 2020
Fazri and his colleagues then pooled their funds to provide free masks to students who cannot afford to buy new ones for themselves.
He told Malay Mail that he shared his story in the hopes that other teachers and Good Samaritans across the country can take note of students who may be facing similar struggles.
“The situation (with my student) was solved immediately at that time, but to think that the same thing could happen to any student in Malaysia, I decided to bring up the issue to the public and ask those who are able to help students like this to contact schools nearby them.
“I feel like in a crisis like this, we shouldn’t be very dependent on just one side to help.
“I think it’s time to let everyone in the community know that they are most welcome to help schools as well,” said Fazri.
His Twitter thread has been retweeted more than 5,900 times and has gotten over 5,500 likes so far.
Fazri hopes that by shining a spotlight on the issue, he can encourage the public to lend a helping hand to students who cannot afford to buy hygiene products and protective gear that have become essential in the fight against Covid-19.
He added that the new normal has presented additional challenges to special education teachers and students now that schools have to follow stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) that include physical distancing and wearing a face mask at all times.
“It’s very challenging since it’s in the nature of my students to move around and we used to learn a lot through play previously.
“However, we are keeping our SOP as strict as possible.”
Social media users applauded Fazri for being proactive in helping his students and raising awareness on the issue, while others said that the authorities need to do more to assist needy students instead of letting the burden fall on teachers alone.