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The Ministry of Religious Affairs has distributed aid packages worth Rp31.7 billion in total for COVID-19 handling to one thousand Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) and 269 madrasahs.

The director-general of Islamic education at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, M. Ali Ramdhani, said the pesantren and madrasahs need to be resilient in facing the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This aid program also aims to garner the community’s support and participation to jointly strengthen Islamic educational institutions such as pesantren and madrasahs so that they always implement the health protocols and make maximal efforts in dealing with COVID-19,” he added in a written statement received here on Thursday.

People’s interest in Islamic education, especially pesantren, is currently high, he observed. As an institution that is tasked to support, the ministry also feels responsible for helping Islamic boarding schools and madrasahs so that teaching and learning activities can run safely and healthily, he said.

“Currently, face-to-face learning has been running. We hope pesantren and madrasahs can remain alert. Always strictly implement health protocols to push the potential threat of COVID-19 transmission,” Ramdhani said.

The COVID-19 Handling Aid for Islamic Boarding Schools and Madrasahs for the 2021 Fiscal Year Program has been realized in the form of masks, hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers, and vitamins to bolster immunity, he informed.

The aid packages will be distributed directly to the boarding schools and madrasahs, he said.

He expressed the hope that school managers would make maximum use of the aid to stem virus transmission, especially amid the threat presented by the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Therefore, mitigation steps should be taken as early as possible to prevent the third wave from happening.

He also appealed to people who have not been vaccinated yet to get the COVID-19 jab promptly.

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