BY TANIA LAM & SARAH HAFIZAH CHANDRA
KUCHING: Parents and teachers are worried about the resumption of co-curricular activities in schools amidst the increase of Covid-19 cases nationwide.
This is also at a time when most of the universities nationwide have postponed their student intake while opting for the teaching and learning to be conducted online.
Despite the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmissions, many parents and teachers prefer that the co-curricular activities are postponed for the time being.
Sarawak Teachers Union (STU) president Macky Joseph pointed out that it would be good for schools to get the consent of parents or guardians for co-curricular activities.
“If the students feel unwell, they should stay at home,” he said, reminding that all SOPs should be adhered to.
Lodge School Association committee member Souba Rethinasamy said that although it is crucial for schools to get back to the usual routine, the latest developments should be taken into consideration.
“School is not only a place for academic development, it is an institution for our children to develop various skills through interaction beyond the classroom through involvement in co-curriculum activities.
“It is indeed crucial for schools to go back to the usual routine but the latest development, especially the increase in the number of cases, must be taken into consideration.
“It is best to postpone the co-curriculum activities because our children’s safety comes first,” she explained.
A secondary school teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said that even though Sarawak was relatively safer compared to other states, co-curriculum activities must be done in moderation.
“Although Sarawak is relatively safe, we should not invite trouble by meeting so frequently and raising the chances for the virus to spread.
“We are fortunate that the authorities in Sarawak are doing a very good job in keeping the virus at bay. If I was in West Malaysia, I would not even allow my child to go to school for classes, let alone attend co-curriculum activities,” she said.
A concerned parent, Andee Yeo, believes that all physical co-curriculum activities should be suspended for the time being.
“Students are meeting three afternoons a week just to make up for the loss of co-curricular time during the movement control order (MCO).
“The extended time spent in school is just an additional risk for teachers and students, especially when we are seeing a nationwide spike in Covid-19 cases,” he said.
Another secondary teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said that co-curricular activities should resume when the conditions permit as there were teachers in the high-risk groups.
“This year has been very challenging, but we have to make do. For the time being, co-curricular activities should just be done online.
“Teachers are also at risk, particularly those who are senior citizens and those who have medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart problems.
“Students come from all sort of backgrounds and they have the potential to be carriers without knowing it. There have been cases involving youth who were found to be positive of Covid-19 but they did not show any symptoms,” he said.