KUCHING: Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian has suggested that Form Four and Five classes can re-start soon.

The Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) president, in a Facebook post last night, believed that Form Four and Five students would be able to adhere to certain “principles” or standard operating procedures (SOP) that aimed at breaking the chain of Covid-19 infection.

Dr Sim, however, opined that it would be tremendously challenging for younger children such as primary school pupils to go back to school too soon.

“In some countries, primary schools are planning to start only next year.

“With all those principles (taken) into consideration, probably those in Form 4 and 5 will be able to comply and can start soon,” he said.

Dr Sim laid out the principles as avoiding mass gatherings given that Covid-19 was spread from human to human through close contact, observing and practising personal hygiene such as hand washing and using face masks, protecting the vulnerable groups and practising ‘3Ts’, namely Tracing, Testing and Treating to combat Covid-19.

“If we can’t avoid gathering, then we need to decrease the numbers at any one time. Classroom size, number of people at the markets or shopping centres or coffee shops at any one time.

“Next, we avoid close proximity (1m-2m apart) #SocialDistancing,” he pointed out.

He said people should wash or sanitise their hands, wear face masks, check body temperature “in case a symptomatic person is joining the class or gatherings” to “decrease virus transmission at personal level”.

The vulnerable groups namely the elderly individuals aged 60 and above as well as children must be protected, he added.

On the 3Ts to fight Covid-19, Dr Sim said names and contact numbers gathered either through mobile apps, writing down manually or QR code scanning before being granted entry into the premises were meant to help with tracing in case of any outbreak.

Instead of the conventional face-to-face style, he said the community could embrace the new norm by opting for online learning, distance education and online shopping.

“Many universities already plan online classes for the rest of this year,” he said.

He added: “Everyone has a role. Please play your part. #StaySafe #SafeLives (sic) #NewNorm. Together, we shall overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.”