The latest announcement by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), on reopening universities has gained more hatred and backlash from students and parents, as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

Touching on the impact of the two-week movement control order (MCO), MoHE has stated that 30% of the 1.1 million higher education institution (IPT) students belong to the six groups of students required to return to their respective campuses from 1st March onwards. 

For a specimen, 5,000 students are allowed to be taken in by a university, but if Covid-19 cases are elevated (on 1st March), the number of students allowed to return to campus will be limited to just 100 or 50 students,” said Deputy director-general of the Higher Education Department Prof Dr Mohd Cairul Iqbal Mohd Amin.

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The National Security Council (MKN) has agreed to allow the students to return to hybrid teaching and learning sessions (PdP) in different phases, namely face-to-face and online, adding that due to the current situation and risk evaluation, the IPTs have the right to minimise the number of students allowed on campus.

Is It Safe to Reopen Schools During A Pandemic?

It depends on the severity of the virus in the upcoming weeks and the safety measures implemented in the universities.

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Universities also need to make changes to reduce risk while reopening in areas where the virus seems to be under control. Among the signs the infection is under control are a sustained reduction in infections and a positive case prevalence of less than 2%.

To minimise risk, experts suggest that when resuming in-person lessons, universities should make changes. Protection precautions suggested include wearing face masks in classrooms and restricting student movement in campus so that students spend all day in the same classroom.