MCO: UMT lecturer proposes collaboration among universities to send students home

KUALA NERUS: A lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) has suggested the government to establish a smart collaboration among universities to facilitate the process of sending home students of institutions of higher learning during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Head of the research laboratory of UMT’s Institute of Oceanography and Environment, Dr Mohd Uzair Rusli said prior to that, the students would be required to go through certain procedures, including health screening, to ascertain they are free of Covid-19.

He said only university buses should be used for purpose of sending home the students.

“For example, for UMT students who want to return to Johor, UMT will use its bus to send them to Johor, and for the return trip back to Terengganu, the bus will bring back students from Terengganu who are at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).

“This can be done because we have universities in all states in the country,“ he said when contacted by Bernama.

On Friday, Minister of Higher Education (KPT) Datuk Noraini Ahmad said the ministry would look into the best way to send home students at institutions of higher learning now that the MCO had been further extended until April 28.

To further reduce the risk of the Covid-19 infection, Mohd Uzair suggested for all the universities to provide the students with food, especially for long distance travel, so that the buses do not have to stop along the journey for the students to get food.

“Such smart partnership among universities helps to save cost, and more importantly, avoid the risk of Covid-19 infection. The students will also be more comfortable and excited to continue their online learning session back home with their families,“ he said.

Meanwhile, director of UMT’s Centre for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Dr Laili Che Rose said it was better for the students to remain at their respective university campus.

With two of her children also at university, one of them abroad, she said she understood the parents’ feeling and concern about their children’s safety and welfare.

“Right now, the balance has been achieved where students at campus are in good health, and so are their parents in the village. But what will happen if the balance is compromised, I’m sure there will be some who will flout the standard operating procedure (SOP) to return home.

“What if the village is in the red zone, it will expose the students to the risk of Covid-19,” she added. — Bernama