NUTP: Face masks should be encouraged, not mandated

Pix for representational purpose only. BERNAMApix

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of face masks in schools should be encouraged to avoid a resurgence of Covid-19 due to the new variant known as XBBB1.16, or Arcturus, said the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP).

Its president Aminuddin Awang, however, said the use of face masks should not be made mandatory, as schools are now able to manage school sessions while adhering to the Covid-19-related standard operating procedures.

“Various parties have expressed concern with the increasing trend of Covid-19 infection following the festive break. As such, NUTP supports the Health Ministry’s proposal for masking in schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“However, we believe that mask-wearing should not be made mandatory for all schools, as not all schools are located in high-risk areas.

“Wearing face masks should be made mandatory in the areas that have been identified as high-risk areas,” he said when contacted.

Aminuddin said the majority of parents have also gone through the phase of managing their children when Covid-19 was at its peak.

“Except for parents whose eldest children just started Year 1 this year, it should not be a problem for them to ensure their children follow the SOP, including wearing face masks when needed while at school.

“The most important thing is that the parents must be aware of the school’s instructions and advice from time to time concerning efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

Yesterday, the Health Ministry proposed the usage of face masks in all schools again to avoid a resurgence of Covid-19 due to the new variant known as XBBB1.16, or Arcturus.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said she would soon convene an urgent meeting with Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek to discuss the matter ahead of the reopening of schools on May 2.

She said new guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOP) for pupils will be issued before the reopening of schools.

Dr Zaliha said the ministry, so far, has detected six new cases of the new XBB 1.16 variant in the Klang Valley, which brings the total number of infected cases to 12. Four of these new cases were detected in Selangor, while two other cases were from Kuala Lumpur.

The six earlier cases were detected in Sarawak.

Last year on Sept 10, then-Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Jidin announced that wearing face masks within school compounds was no longer mandatory and instead only optional.

This is following the Health Ministry’s decision on Sept 7, which made wearing face masks only optional when indoors.

Source: New Straits Times


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