KUALA LUMPUR – Undergoing COVID-19 screening via the use of RTK-Antigen self-test kits before attending classes will help detect infections and prevent education clusters, former Education director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said.
He said while frequent self-tests could be costly, the government could address this concern by subsidising the test kits.
“It is good to self-test but not really possible to do it every day as the kit is quite expensive, especially for low-income families.
“However, the vaccination programme for teenagers has been a good move and maybe could be implemented in stages with the permission of parents,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.
Alimuddin also proposed more discussions be held with the Health Ministry as this would help schools implement more safety measures.
Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday said that 107 COVID-19 education clusters had been recorded in the first 25 days of this year, involving 4,633 cases, and added that the exponential increase was due to schools opening for the new session compared to the 2021 schooling session.
Besides this, seven educational institution clusters were detected in Sabah over the past week.
National Parents and Teachers Association Consultative Council president Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hasan was also of the view that the cost of self-test kits for students and school staff should be borne by the government.
He also suggested that the vaccination rates in educational institutions be monitored to minimise infections.
“There must also be scheduled and also ad-hoc monitoring done in hostels and if standard operating procedures (SOP) are not complied with, maybe a penalty system in the form of fines should be introduced.
These inspections, he added, must be carried out in schools identified as recording COVID-19 cases for at least three consecutive days.
National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) president Aminuddin Awang, meanwhile, said parents played a very important role in checking the rise in education clusters by only allowing their children to attend lessons if they are well.
NUTP was also confident that all SOPs in schools were being enforced strictly, he said.
“And if the (infection) situation turns critical, we ask all parties to help ease the process of suspending physical classes for everyone’s benefit,” he added.
Aminuddin, however, believes that the infection rate will dip once schools are closed for the Chinese New Year holidays beginning tomorrow.