Minister of Health Budi Gunadi Sadikin emphasized that the news circulating of the findings of thousands of COVID-19 cases in schools that had limited PTM was not true. According to him, the number of positive cases of corona found in schools is less.
“So yesterday there were many hoaxes circulating that there were so many clusters, actually this is not the case. We convey the data transparently,” said Budi in a press teleconference after a Limited Meeting with President Joko Widodo, in Jakarta, Monday (27/9).
Budi explained that since the PTM was limited, his party carried out a strict early detection or surveillance strategy. He gave an example that surveillance was carried out in schools that conducted PTM in DKI Jakarta and Semarang. The results were varied, both positive and negative.
“For example, if SDN Rawasari had 30 people swab, only one person tested positive for COVID-19, that’s definitely not a cluster. Then, for example, below that in Duren Sawit, SMP PGRI, out of 266 people were tested, 21 were positive, it was most likely a cluster,” he explained.
That way, he said, direct teaching and learning activities will continue to be carried out with the implementation of strict health protocols, and good risk management by each school. According to him, the longer it is delayed, the more losses will be experienced by children and in the future humanity must be prepared to live side by side with this corona virus.
“We have to learn to live with this, we handle it, so the risk management must be good, not then we are afraid or avoid it because we definitely have to keep teaching and learning,” he said.
Strategy for Pressing Cases in Schools
The Ministry of Health, he said, has also prepared a strategy to prevent the creation of COVID-19 clusters from the PTM activities. The strategy is proactively finding COVID-19 cases in the field or active case finding. Related parties such as the local Health Office will search for positive cases in schools that carry out PTM at the district/city level.
“From there we take 10 percent for sampling, then from 10 percent we divide the allocation based on which sub-district has the most schools. Why at the district level? because of epidemiologist said the transmission did not occur between cities, it happened between districts first. So the sub-district epidemiology area must be monitored closely in terms of surveillance, we continue to take 30 students and 30 teachers per school, all of which are swab PCR with the PCR method. full testing,” he explained.
He continued, from the results testing such when available positivity rate below one percent, close contact will be sought from the positive patient and PTM activities can continue. Whereas if positivity rate reaches the range of 1-5 percent, then all study groups will be carried out testing and quarantined, then PTM can be continued for other study groups in the same school.
“But if (positivity rate) above five percent we test all schools, because there is a possibility this will spread and we will change the school first to online for 14 days while we clean, the process is repaired. Then after 14 days we enter again. So we thus ensure that surveillance it is carried out at the lowest level, even if there is a possibility that there will be an outbreak there, we only need to lock one school, there is no need for all schools to be closed. Other schools with good progress can still run,” he explained.
According to him, if this is successfully carried out at the school level, the strategy will be replicated in other sectors such as tourism, transportation, religion, employment and others. That way, he said, the pandemic would be sufficiently controlled so that people could live normally but remain safe and healthy.
PJJ Impact Can Be Permanent
On the same occasion, Minister of Education, Culture, Research and Technology (Mendikbudristek) Nadiem Makarim also denied reports that limited PTM activities resulted in the creation of a COVID-19 cluster. According to him, the finding that 2.8 percent of schools became a COVID-19 cluster was an accumulative number during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So it’s all from the entire COVID-19 period, not from the last month in which PTM occurred. Even then, 2.8 percent of schools reported by their schools to have COVID-19 do not necessarily carry out PTM. And also one more thing is the figure that yesterday called 15 thousand students and 7 thousand teachers who were positive for COVID-19 based on a lot of raw reports error-his. For example, many have reported that the number of positive COVID-19 cases exceeded the number of students in their schools,” said Nadiem.
In the future, his party also supports the strategy that will be carried out by the Ministry of Health, namely proactively finding cases in schools so that statistically more accurate and valid results will be obtained to determine the next policy to be carried out by the government in teaching and learning activities. In addition, the Ministry of Education and Culture, he said, will also integrate the Care Protect system in various schools that carry out direct teaching and learning activities.
Furthermore, Nadiem is actually more worried about the impact of the loss of direct learning time for children during this pandemic. Based on the data he obtained, only 40 percent of schools started doing PTM, while the rest were not ready and able to do PTM during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, he hopes that in the future, with the collaboration carried out by the Ministry of Health, more schools can immediately conduct PTM.
“And data from the World Bank and various research institutions show how scary learning loss can be outside of the psychological conditions that occur, especially at the elementary and early childhood levels where they most need PTM and that if schools are not opened, the impact can be permanent. So this is one thing that worries us even more is how long these children have been carrying out distance learning (PJJ) which is far below the effectiveness of face-to-face schools,” he concluded. [gi/lt]