KUALA LUMPUR: Students at higher-education institutions (IPT) nationwide will be periodically screened for Covid-19 when campuses reopen in stages starting Oct 15, says Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad.

The Higher Education Minister said students would be periodically tested for Covid-19 via the Covid-19 saliva self-test kit that would be distributed by the Ministry.

“Even though students are fully vaccinated, this screening is done periodically to ensure the students are in good health,” she said when answering a supplementary question in Parliament on Monday (Oct 11).

Dr Noraini was responding to Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir (PH-Johor Bahru), who asked Noraini if there were plans by the Ministry to distribute free Covid-19 saliva self-test kits to higher education students nationwide.

However, Noraini did not mention whether the Covid-19 saliva self-test kits would be distributed for free to the students.

Noraini said if students tested positive for Covid-19, they would be placed at quarantine centres that were set up at the respective IPT.

“The IPT will not be closed and learning with the student involved will only be postponed,” she said.

“Tthe closure of an institution will only be considered by the Health Ministry if there were serious surges in cases,” she added.

Meanwhile, Noraini said as of Oct 8, 2,286 students or 0.2% of IPT students could not be vaccinated due to health conditions.

“IPTs are urged to assist these students to ensure their learning is unaffected.”

She said if the attendance of unvaccinated students was unavoidable, then IPTs must ensure stringent steps to curb Covid-19 are taken, such as conducting regular swab tests and saliva tests.

“Conduct periodic screenings to ensure that they are always in good health.”

The updated SOPs for varsities can be viewed at the Higher Education Ministry’s website and IPTs across the countries are set to reopen in stages beginning Oct 16 under the National Recovery Plan.

Meanwhile, Noraini said as of Oct 1, 951,739 or 83 % of 1.15 million IPT students had been fully vaccinated.

She also added that 117,721 or 90% of IPT staff members were fully vaccinated

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