Tuesday, August 4, 2009

School exams on as scheduled despite flu pandemic

PUTRAJAYA: The Standard Six, Form Three and Form Five government examinations will be held as scheduled despite the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced Tuesday.

Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, said no decision had been made on a proposal to bring forward the third midterm school holidays scheduled from Aug 22 to 30.

It is learnt that the idea of bringing forward the school break was to keep children away from school and, hopefully, at home to reduce the likelihood of local transmission of the disease.

The Primary School Achievement Test (UPSR) for Standard Six pupils is scheduled for Sept 8 to 10, the Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination for Form Three students from Oct 7 to 9 and Oct 12 and 13 and the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) written examination for Form Five students from Nov 19 to Dec 16.

Muhyiddin said: "All the examinations will be held as scheduled. If there are cases of students suffering from the flu, they will be isolated.

“If a school is ordered to shut down, students taking examinations will have to return to school to sit the examinations.

"Students under treatment in hospitals can take the examinations at the respective hospitals if permitted by the doctor.

"We have yet to decide on the proposal to bring forward the third midterm school break."

These and other decisions were adopted at a meeting of the National Inter-Ministerial influenza Pandemic Committee chaired by Muhyiddin here Tuesday.

Muhyiddin also said that the influenza A (H1N1) test would not be conducted for all influenza-like illness (ILI) cases any more in view of H1N1 being the cause of 95 per cent of the ILI infections.

"Those categorised as ILI cases will be immediately given antiviral doses. The verification test for influenza A(H1N1) was only necessary for cases under treatment in hospitals.

“The influenza A (H1N1) rapid test is also not encouraged," he said.

He said all cases with influenza A (H1N1) symptoms as well as those regarded as high-risk cases, such as those who were pregnant, obese, asthmatic or diabetic or had chronic lung ailments or low immunity, would be given an antiviral immediately without the need for a verification test.

Muhyiddin said all state governments had been instructed to activate preventive and control activities, including holding meetings of the H1N1 2009 pandemic action committees at state and district levels.

This was to enable all awareness activities to be conducted in a more effective manner at various levels or agencies, he added.

Taken from The Star Online

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