Students of institutions of higher learning (IPT) will be allowed to travel interstate from their campus to their homes for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays and return to campus on designated dates next month, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) announced today.
The ministry said the National Security Council (NSC) agreed in a special meeting held on April 28 to allow such returns to their homes for IPT students on campus for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri break, except for Sarawak.
“Students are also given a choice whether to return to their homes or to remain on campus during the holidays for the festival,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that this approval is in line with the previous relaxation given by the NSC for the education sector.
To ensure that the movement of such IPT students are controlled, the ministry said it has decided on several control mechanisms where the movement of students at each IPT would be carried out in phases.
“The dates fixed for movement to return to their respective homes are on May 7 to May 12, 2021, while the movement of students returning to campus are on May 15 to May 20, 2021,” the ministry said.
The ministry said the respective IPTs would prepare letters of approval for travels across states or districts and also coordinate the dates for the trips home and back to campus for each student.
The ministry said the students would be allowed to use only three modes of travel, namely their own vehicles, being picked up by their parents or guardians, or using buses coordinated by the IPT.
“Movement using public transportation is not allowed except for flight services,” the ministry said.
While the total IPT student population numbers 1.3 million, the ministry said the movement of IPT students in conjunction with the Aidilfitri holidays is estimated to only involve the 103,994 students who are now on campus.
These 103,994 students on campus are composed of the six categories of students that were previously allowed to undergo teaching and learning sessions on campus.
The standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the NSC and available on the MOHE’s website listed one set of procedures for the movement of students within Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Labuan; from Sabah and Labuan to Peninsular Malaysia; and from Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia to Labuan in line with the Aidilfitri holidays.
A different set of SOPs was issued specifically for students entering Sabah either to return home or to go back to their campus in line with the Aidilfitri holidays.
The two sets of SOPs did not include procedures for similar travel by IPT students into or out of Sarawak in conjunction with the Aidilfitri holidays.Among other things, the SOP states that all activities are allowed except physical greetings and contact, as well as gathering in large numbers or without adequate physical distancing.
The SOPs also state that travel home from campus would not be allowed if it involves states where interstate movement is prohibited or if it is to an area under Enhanced Movement Control Orders (EMCO).
Health screenings for students’ returning home or returning to campus when it involves travel within Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Labuan or from Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah to Labuan or from Sabah and Labuan to Peninsular Malaysia, while the SOPs specifically require Covid-19 swab tests via RT-PCR or RTK-Ag for those travelling into Sabah from other parts of Malaysia.
The SOPs as well as a list of frequently asked questions can be found at the MOHE’s website, the ministry said.
It added that students with further questions can contact the coordinating officer at their respective IPTs or MOHE at the numbers 03-8870 6777/6949/6623/6628. — Malay Mail
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