Not compulsory for pupils to wear face masks, says Ismail Sabri

Sekolah Kebangsaan Jelapang students on their first day back at school in Ipoh July 15, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Sekolah Kebangsaan Jelapang students on their first day back at school in Ipoh July 15, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — The government has not made it compulsory for pupils to wear face masks, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob clarified today, amid lingering concern that the reopening of schools yesterday could prompt a spike in Covid-19 infections.

But school authorities must provide the masks to students who show symptoms of the disease, the minister stressed.

Teachers were already told to record the temperatures of pupils daily and provide hand sanitisers, as part of the standard operating procedures prepared by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

“Wearing face masks is not compulsory and schools are only obligated to provide the masks to students who show symptoms,” Ismail Sabri said in a statement issued earlier this evening.

School sessions for Forms One to Four students and Years Five to Six pupils, as well as those in remove classes, pre-schools and kindergartens, opened for the first time yesterday since the movement control order (MCO) in March.

The Education Ministry said shortly after that the SOP compliance rate in schools was satisfactory.

Senior Minister Radzi Jidin said based on his checks at several schools, he found the reopening of schools had proceeded without hiccups.

All students and teachers were said to have complied with the MoH’s SOP, such as conducting temperature checks, practising social distancing, wearing face masks and dispensing hand sanitiser.

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