Doctors, Academics Call for Suspension of In-Person Learning

Diana Mariska
In-person learning at SMPN 5 Yogyakarta (Photo: Ilham Baktora)
In-person learning at SMPN 5 Yogyakarta (Photo: Ilham Baktora) - Medical professionals and experts said the government may need to evaluate the implementation of in-person learning that has been taking place in some cities in Indonesia.

Five medical professional associations released a joint statement on Sunday, January 23, that highlighted health risks faced by students under the age of 11 if they continue to partake in face-to-face learning activities.

“Based on reports in several countries, the proportion of child hospitalization due to Omicron infection is higher than previous COVID-19 variants,” chairman of the Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI) Agus Dwi Susanto said in the statement.

Besides the finding, young children’s low compliance in upholding strict health protocols and the considerably low vaccination rate among children younger than 11 years old make it more even pressing for the government to review that policy that allows in-person learning.

Furthermore, chairman of the Indonesian Heart Association (PERKI) Isman Firdaus emphasized the danger of severe complications in the form of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children associated with COVID-19 (MIS-C) or other long COVID syndromes that will affect other vital organs.

Taking into considerations all the potential risks, the two associations, the Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI), the Indonesian Society of Internal Medicine (PAPDI), and the Indonesian Society of Anesthesiology and Intensive Therapy (PERDATIN) recommended students and parents to be given the option to continue with remote learning.

Children with pre-existing health conditions are also recommended to continue the medical treatments. And only students who have received full dose of vaccination and are able to rigorously follow and carry out health protocols are recommended to follow in-person learning at school.

The five associations have sent their statement and recommendations to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Home Affairs – which is the four ministries that issued Joint Ministerial Decree (SKB) of Four Ministers that regulates learning activities during COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, epidemiologist at Griffith University also has also called for suspension of in-person learning, as COVID-19 third wave is predicted to occur between February and March.

“In-person learning should be suspended, at least from the end of January to early March because Indonesia is predicted to go through a critical period,” expert Dicky Budiman said on Sunday, as reported by Antara.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health confirmed the death of two Omicron patients, and Budiman warned that death of child COVID-19 patients may soon happen if mitigation efforts are not quickly prepared.

Tag # education # inperson learning # covid19 # omicron # pandemic # health # ministry # medical # epidemiologist

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