Checklist for students and parents on the reopening of Malaysian university campuses from Oct 15

After a long period of online learning, the reopening of campuses will apply to all tertiary institutions in all states in October – AFP pic.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — The announcement by the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) on the resumption of campus classes from October 15 onwards was much anticipated.

In the announcement, the ministry said the reopening of campuses will apply to all tertiary institutions in all states, regardless of which phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) they are at respectively.

To encourage enrolment, the ministry has also announced a 20 per cent discount on fees for all local students enrolling in all public universities for the 2021/2022 Semester One session.

Before we get all excited, there are still several prerequisites one must fulfill and we have prepared a simple checklist for those involved (students and parents) in the resumption of face-to-face classes.

1. Are you vaccinated?

First and foremost, only university students, non-academic staff and academic staff who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to enter their respective campuses.

The government’s definition of fully-vaccinated individuals applies to those who have passed a 14-day period after receiving the second dose for double-dose vaccines (Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sinovac) and those who have passed the 28th day from the day they were injected with single-dose vaccines (Johnson & Johnson and CanSino).

But what if you are not able to be vaccinated due to health reasons? Worry not, those concerned will have to liaise with their respective tertiary institutions to coordinate further.

2. Do you have the necessary documents?

Now that you have fulfilled the most basic and crucial requirement, it is time to prepare the necessary documents for travelling purposes as interstate travel restrictions are still being enforced under the NRP.

Two important documents are required: permission or offer letters from your respective tertiary institutions to travel to their campus and permits from the police (for those in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan).

However, students and staff looking to return to campuses in East Malaysia would also be subject to regulations and standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the respective state governments.

3. Have you been tested?

It must also be noted that students wishing to return to campuses must undergo a RT-PCR Covid-19 swab test as well, apart from the conditions listed above.

Students who are returning to their campuses in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan are also required to undergo screening three days prior to their travel and are subjected to further quarantine measures enforced by the state government.

Taking into account the screening costs, the government has also decided to provide such tests free of charge at all government health clinics.

4. Modes of transportation allowed

Now that you have fulfilled almost all the important pre-conditions, there is still one more matter concerning the movement of varsity students nationwide.

There are three options students can opt for: personally-owned private vehicles, being dropped off by their parents who must also be fully vaccinated, carpooling with fully immunised individuals, or through air travel.

With all the above conditions satisfied, you are now ready to embark on your journey for the 2021/2022 academic year.

Of course, there may be some lingering questions and uncertainties to be resolved as well… and here they are:

1. What if I do not want to attend face-to-face classes, would that be allowed?

Yes! 

Students unable to return to their campuses for various reasons such as incomplete vaccinations can still choose to attend online and hybrid lessons for their respective programmes from their current localities. 

This depends on the subjects offered though so it is best you check with your tertiary institution.

2. What if I have a fever or exhibit symptoms upon my arrival on campus?

You would be referred to the university’s health centre or hospital for a more comprehensive Covid-19 screening and quarantined at an isolation centre prepared by the campus authorities.

3. Would laboratory, workshop or research activities be allowed? 

Yes! Provided that the capacity on the use of laboratories or space is in accordance with the prescribed SOP.

4. Would mandatory MySejahtera usage apply to all university campuses?

Yes! This is to enable contact tracing to be conducted by the Health Ministry.

Alternatively, students can also contact the 24-hours Ministry of Higher Education Covid-19 Operational Room at 03-8870 6777 / 6949 / 6623 / 6628 or access the ministry’s official website for the latest information including matters relating to transportation and admission.