PUTRAJAYA, April 26 —  The Education Ministry (KPM) is committed to continuing with the school session as it is confident that the standard operating procedure (SOP) implemented in schools can curb the spread of Covid-19, said Senior Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.

He said the data available showed that schools were safe to attend and not the cause of Covid-19 clusters as claimed by various quarters.

The latest data from the Health Ministry (MOH) showed that of the 99 education clusters, 52 involved schools under KPM with 2,274 cases, he said.

“This is 4.8 per cent of the clusters or 2.07 per cent of cluster cases.

“Of these cases, 1.42 per cent or 1,559 cases involved residential schools and only 0.53 per cent or 585 cases involved non-boarding schools, not even one per cent,” he told a press conference here today. 

MOH had said that 60.8 per cent of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia were sporadic cases and 39.2 per cent involved clusters.

“If we look at the 60.8 per cent of sporadic cases, in this context, the kids are exposed to it (Covid-19) anywhere. But students are in a controlled environment in schools because of the set SOP. We’re not saying we’re perfect, but we will do our best to keep infections to a minimum with the SOP,” he added.

Radzi said the authorities would step up measures for SOP compliance in hostels, including through a task force.

However, schools would be closed on the instruction of the National Security Council (MKN) if the situation worsened, he said.

He said under the current SOP, schools with positive cases would be closed for two days, and the District Health Office (PKD) would make a risk assessment to decide if the closure needs to be extended.

This is also to enable PKD to conduct close contact tracing and to monitor sanitisation and disinfection works. 

Radzi said schools in red zones would not be closed except if they were under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO), but state governments can discuss with the ministry if risk assessment done by MOH required schools in certain localities to be temporarily shut.

He said attendance in schools between March 1 and April 23 was 90.26 per cent, which was regarded as high.

Radzi said checks on the ground showed that children were excited to attend school and parents were also keen to send them to school.

Although it might be easy to close schools at this moment, it might not be the right move, he added.

“It may be easy to take this route (closing schools). But let’s do the right thing. Would closing schools be the right decision (now)? We need to decide based on data and analysis,” he said. — Bernama