Physical distancing cannot be practiced in schools but our ventilation is better than most schools globally - Kumar

Physical distancing cannot be practiced in schools but our ventilation is better than most schools globally - Kumar

By Shanil Singh , Semi Turaga
Wednesday 05/01/2022
Minister for Education Premila Kumar

Minister for Education Premila Kumar says physical distancing cannot be practiced in schools but to offset that, our ventilation in schools is far better than compared to many other schools in the world.

Some parents had contacted us and asked if their children are safe in classrooms and whether the schools are maintaining the 2 metres physical distancing.

They had also asked how all students will fit in a classroom if they will be made to sit 2 metres away from each other as there may be space issues.

When questioned today, Kumar says COVID-safe measures is not just one measure but is a multilayered approach.

She says the issue of overcrowding is only in urban schools and not in remote areas.

The Minister adds she had said before that they will consider other measures if things go out of hand.

She says this includes splitting the class into two and then allowing one set of students to come on one day and another set on another day however that is not required at the moment.

With 60% attendance recorded in schools throughout Fiji yesterday, Kumar says based on their data there are few isolated classrooms which may be overcrowded for now.

We also asked Kumar on how the ministry is dealing with the overcrowding issue as it is a major concern.

Kumar says if parents do not want to send their children to school then they have other options which has been made clear and that is the best they can do for now.

She had said last week that parents who are not willing to send their children to school will have to make arrangements with the heads of schools or engage in homeschooling.

Meanwhile, Kumar says they are also encouraging heads of schools to take the students to open spaces to teach if classrooms are full however they are monitoring the situation.

The Ministry of Health is urging people to always carry a well-fitted mask when they leave home, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, maintain at least 2 metres of physical distancing from others when outside their homes and wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

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