Relief for parents as Puay Chai 2 primary school shuts temporarily following Covid-19 outbreak

Soo Wern Jun
·3-min read
A general view of SJK(C) Puay Chai 2, Bandar Utama, April 12, 2021. — Picture by Choo Choy May
A general view of SJK(C) Puay Chai 2, Bandar Utama, April 12, 2021. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — SJK (C) Puay Chai 2 will be shutting temporarily, in stages starting today, following a Covid-19 outbreak at the school.

This comes as a relief for students’ parents, the school’s Parent Teacher Association chairman Loh Tian Hong said.

“It is a huge relief for the majority of parents who have been pressuring the headmistress to shut the school.

“The school will shut temporarily starting today (April 13) with the afternoon session (Year One and Two students), and tomorrow (April 14) for morning session,” Loh said when contacted.

In a notice issued by the school management this morning, 2,500 affected students will continue their lessons via online classes at home.

In the notice sighted by Malay Mail, it is also stated that school will reopen upon further directive from the Petaling District Health Office.

Prior to today’s temporary shutdown notice, the school’s application to close was rejected by the district health office, on the grounds that the cases were part of a non-infection cluster, and therefore, did not warrant closure.

School management had applied to shut SJK (C) Puay Chai 2 after six students tested positive for Covid-19.

The situation, according to Loh, had sparked anxiety and tension among parents, as well as with the school’s headmistress.

“Everyone is very frustrated and worried, and today, finally they are going to close the school.

“It is better this way, as they still have not identified the index case of the infections,” he said.

Since the first case was reported on April 7, five classes from Year Two, Four and Five and 11 teachers are under home quarantine.

According to Loh, the 11 teachers tested negative while students in three of the five classes were tested yesterday and have yet to get their lab results.

He added that the district health department is arranging to test the remaining two classes that were temporarily closed, though some of the parents have sent their children to be tested privately.

Loh, however, said the tense situation, which has lasted for a week, could have been avoided if there were clearer guidelines for school management on what to do in the event of an outbreak.

Following this, Malay Mail sought clarification from the Selangor Health Department (JKNS), which confirmed that the headmistress of the school had gone through the right channels when applying for a school closure.

If an application to shut a school is rejected, the school principal can reapply or lodge an appeal, should a situation deteriorate and warrants a re-evaluation by the district health office.

However, JKNS explained that all school principals have been given full autonomy to shut the school if they deem it necessary to do so — following such an outbreak.

“It is the same as when there is H1N1, the same protocols apply.

“In fact, for all infectious diseases, the school principals have full autonomy to order the school to shut temporarily.

“However, school management could also seek further assessment with the district health department if they are unsure whether a situation warrants a temporary shut,” the JKNS said when contacted.

The JKNS has also urged all schools to follow the strict standard operating procedures (SOP) that have been circulated to schools in Selangor.

“It is very important that they follow these SOPs strictly to prevent any infection from surfacing in school,” the JKNS said.

The Health Ministry recorded 1,317 new Covid-19 cases, 10 new clusters and four more deaths yesterday.

Selangor alone had 303 cases and one workplace cluster.

Malaysia is still in the grip of the third Covid-19 wave that started last year after the Sabah state election in September.

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