If you have been keeping track of the news recently, you will no doubt have read about how the government has made the decision to allow public university students who were living on or around campus to return home during the MCO. But while we may think it is as simple as chartering a few buses to transport the students home, the current circumstances mean extra steps have to be taken to ensure the safety of everyone.
But just what goes on behind the scenes when the students are finally allowed to return home, as per the IPT (Institutes of Higher Learning) Pulang initiative by the government?
Well to find out, WORLD OF BUZZ reached out to Ms Nur Akalili Mohd Amin, a Master’s student with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, to understand what the process was really like.
According to Ms Nur Akalili, who is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education, majoring in Curriculum and Pedagogy, the process of heading back home started through an online application. In UKM’s case, their student’s affair office was tasked to handle the procedures associated with the program.
On Sunday morning, she received a call from her student’s affair office to head to UKM Bangi’s campus grounds with her luggage. She told us that this was due to the fact that she wasn’t living on campus at the time.
“I had been waiting for this call for 40 days, and I can’t remember how loud I screamed and quickly, I packed and left for UKM!” she said.
Upon arriving at UKM, both students and guests were required to register at the guard house before receiving a mandatory health screening from UKM’s own on-campus health centre, which involves checking body temperature, your current health condition, your latest traveling history, before you are deemed fit.
Strict practice of social distancing
While we may be wondering if social distancing can be enforced with that many people around, Ms Nur Akalili told us that throughout the entire process, police officers from PDRM kept a close eye on everyone and reminded them to keep a 1-metre distance apart from each other constantly.
Food was also distributed to the students for iftar, while the local Fire & Safety Department worked to disinfect UKM’s masjid for maghrib prayers. Movement into the mosque was capped at only 50 students per trip, led by PDRM officers. After their prayers, it was time to leave. But before leaving, students had to fill up 3 copies of a PDRM Approval and Declaration form that has to be signed by PDRM to permit interstate travel.
Bags disinfected, only one bus at a time
Prior to boarding their buses, students had to have their baggage disinfected, and only one bus was allowed to depart at any given time. Each bus was also disinfected completely, as well as conduct a second disinfection of the student’s luggage in the luggage compartment. The shoes of every student were also disinfected, prior to boarding.
Once aboard, one UKM health centre representative will be on-board every bus to monitor the situation, and sahur food packs would be distributed to all students on board the bus.
As students finally arrive at their designated pick-up points, they have to ensure that their family members will also be waiting for them ahead of time. Another temperature check will be carried out by PDRM, before students’ luggage were disinfected once more prior to them collecting it.
A de-briefing process was also mandated to remind all students to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. After that, students had to fill out an arrival consent form, before the students are escorted back with their families by members of the authorities. One family member will also have to be waiting at the student’s home to ensure that the student arrives safely.
Ms Nur Akalili also told us that throughout the entire ordeal, social distancing and wearing face masks were compulsory at all times to prevent the spread of any infection.
While it may seem like a long, drawn out process, it is clear that our government had spared no expense to ensure that the transporting of students back home from university was carried out safely.
“We want to thank Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi Malaysia (KPT) for the initiative and make it possible for us to return home.
“And I cannot thank them enough, the unsung heroes, the frontliners of IPT Pulang Program: (UKM, HEP, UKM Students Representatitive Council (MPP), PDRM, Bomba and others) for everything they have been doing for us.” Ms Nur Akalili adds.
Just like Ms Nur Akalili, we would also like to extend our thanks to all our frontliners for bringing our students back home, and ensuring the safety for everyone in Malaysia during this difficult time!
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