Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of consultant paediatricians today appealed to the authorities to draw up clearer and more comprehensive standard operating procedure (SOP) on school management and measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

In a joint statement, the paediatricians said the SOP released by the Ministry of Education (MOE) recently was lacking in specifics, clear instruction and action plans in important areas.

“The SOP has not specified clearly how to encourage the Three Ws (wash hands, wear a mask and warn) and how to avoid the Three Cs (close conversation, confined places, crowded places) for the students, teachers and administrative staff,” it said.

The statement was issued by four consultant paediatricians, namely National Early Childhood Intervention Council (NECIC) adviser Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS, NECIC president Dr Wong Woan Yiing, Positive Parenting Programme of the Malaysian Paediatric Association chairman Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail and Malaysian Paediatric Association president Dr Hung Liang Choo.

While congratulating the MOE for completing the SOP, they said the guidelines need to be more comprehensive, with meaningful and clear suggestions that teachers and students can follow.

Among others, they said that although the SOP included encouraging students and teachers to wash hands with water and soap, hand disinfection before entering or leaving a class is not specifically mandated.

The statement also drew attention to the lack of guidance for mask or face shield wearing for teachers when teaching in the class.

Thus, students at the front of the class would be at high risk of droplets spread from teachers when teaching, the statement said.

Other points raised by the doctors included management of student placements for crowded schools, policy for toilets, interaction between students of different classrooms, teacher staff rooms, class ventilation, meal provisions, intra-school daily monitoring and funding for resources such as temperature scanners and hand sanitisers.

“Training for students and staff is mentioned in general terms and left to the discretion of the school authorities. Schools need standardised training material that all schools can use so as to provide comprehensive messages,” the statement said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in his announcement on the recovery movement control order (RMCO), said that schools will be reopened in stages based on advice from the Health Ministry. – Bernama