Miri – 4 February 2021 – As COVID-19 cases in Miri have risen rapidly of late and three of its staff have contracted the coronavirus due to exposure to cases in the Rakut Cluster in Miri, Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) is taking the precautionary step of getting all of its staff to Work From Home and limiting access to its campus for two weeks from 1 to 15 February 2021.
Though the infected staff members were immediately isolated and given treatment and had not been on campus for some time, the nature of their work warranted a thorough cleaning and sanitising of the campus under the supervision of the state health department.
As an added precaution, some 19 other staff who have faced potential exposure to COVID-19 have undergone PCR tests on the advice of the health authorities, which have all returned with negative results.
Curtin Malaysia’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Leunig said the risk of COVID-19 exposure on the campus has actually been extremely low due to close collaboration with the state authorities, an ongoing COVID-19 awareness campaign and enhanced SOPs since last year.
Furthermore, students have not been back on campus and have been continuing their learning online since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was first declared last year, other than the small number in six categories allowed to return to campus late last year by the Ministry of Higher Education for specific activities.
Professor Leunig added that with the staff working from home, the campus hopes to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the community and ensuring staff stay healthy by reducing activity on campus and allowing everyone adequate social distancing at home. The two-week period will also allow a thorough environmental cleaning of the campus to be carried out.
He however expressed regret that certain individuals had publicly shared on social media an internal communication informing students of the campus closure that gave rise to unfounded public speculation and rumours.
The communication stated that there had been delay in its distribution due to some technical issues but this referred to an issue of accessing administrative systems from home, delaying internal staff and student email by a matter of hours and not a deliberate delay or attempt at a cover-up as alluded by these individuals. There was also no attempt to seek clarification from the university. In any regard, staff and most students had already been informed through other channels the day before.
“It was in no way meant to be a public statement and should have been seen in the context of a series of prior COVID-19 update communications to staff and students that began as early as 25 January. It regrettable that such speculation has resulted due to people not knowing the full picture,” he said.
“The health and safety of our staff, students and visitors is our topmost priority at this time and we will continue to adhere to government advice, as well as take our own initiatives, to ensure they are well protected. We hope our staff and students, as well as the larger Miri community, will continue support our efforts and those of the government and others in the community to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Professor Leunig.
Members of the Curtin Malaysia community or the public who would like to know about the campus’ COVID-19 measures can contact its Marketing & Communications Department at [email protected].
For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit curtin.edu.my, or look for Curtin Malaysia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or LinkedIn.
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Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia)