KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Come Friday, students of higher learning institutions (IPT) will start returning to campus to attend face-to-face classes after months of having to cope with online learning due to Covid-19.
It is learned that all guidelines and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to welcome the students back on campus have been prepared by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) with approval from the National Security Council (MKN).
According to MOHE records, a total of 1,162,590 students had enrolled in 595 IPT under the ministry as of June 30 this year, with 83 per cent of them fully vaccinated.
Of the total, 555,340 students are in public universities, 507,932 in private universities, 84,578 in polytechnics and 14,740 in community colleges.
As for the 131,151 staff in all IPT, 90 per cent have been fully vaccinated.
Senior lecturer of Education at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Bity Salwana Alias said the reopening of the IPT starting this Friday is very appropriate to prove that the IPTs are ready to adapt to the new normal and continue the educational process as the country prepares to enter the endemic phase.
“We have no choice but to live with this Covid-19...even if it shows a declining trend, no one knows when it will end. So we have to be bold enough to take reasonable risks to give our students the opportunity to study on campus,” she told Bernama.
She said the commitment showed by the students in getting full vaccination against the coronavirus also proved that they were eager and excited to return to campus.
“I’m sure they are more alert to the SOPs and regulations in force. The IPT must also have done proper preparations to welcome their students back to campus,” she said.
According to the IPT Opening and Operations Plan for 2021/22 Academic Session, the IPT operations should go through the campus opening phase (FPK) which describes the situation of the IPT community which comprise only those who are fully vaccinated.
Students who cannot be vaccinated should produce a doctor’s letter of confirmation and take the RT-PCR test three days before returning to campus and do the saliva test each week.
However, students from states under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) and interstate travel restrictions are exempted from returning to campus.
Every institution has also been asked to prepare an isolation and quarantine centre and comply with the SOP for entry to IPT including having the mandatory body temperature check, use of MySejahtera app and wearing of face masks.
The institutions are also advised to strengthen their respective Emergency Response Committee and operation room, as well as their mental health management, such as counselling and psychosocial services and the organising of stress and emotional awareness programmes.
The IPT are also required to ensure that the ventilation system in all lecture halls and lecturers’ rooms is in good condition and rooms without air conditioning units should leave the windows open while in use.
Compliance with the 3W practice (wash, wear, warn) should be among the matters emphasised by the IPT to curb the spread of Covid-19 on campus.
The IPT are also required to comply with the general SOPs, including ensuring that the cleaning and disinfection process is implemented before and after daily work activities.
As for the method of movement, students are given the flexibility to drive their own vehicle apart from being sent by their parents or guardians, while those who share a vehicle must ensure that the driver and other passengers are fully vaccinated.
Students from Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan must undergo an RT-PCR test within three days before departure and if tested positive for Covid-19, they will be referred to a health facility.
The implementation of student activities including sports and recreation is allowed but subject to SOPs set by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, while group social, religious, economic, sports and recreational activities are subject to directives from local authorities. — Bernama