We cannot afford to keep our children out of school - Kumar

We cannot afford to keep our children out of school - Kumar

By Shanil Singh
Saturday 15/01/2022
Minister for Education Premila Kumar.

Minister for Education Premila Kumar says we cannot afford to keep our children out of the school environment and have to get them back.

While visiting flood affected schools in Rakiraki, Kumar says we will de-generate without teaching and learning and adds it must continue so we can recover from the losses of the past 2 years.

She says it will be extremely difficult to recover but we must do whatever we can.

Kumar says the UK has opened schools with masks being made mandatory and even New South Wales has announced that schools will open in February.

According to BBC News, all school staff and secondary school students are being asked to take two lateral flow tests every week.

In England, secondary school pupils now have to wear masks in class as well as in communal areas.

In Wales, some schools have reintroduced year group bubbles and have staggered start and finish times.

BBC has also reported that under England's guidelines, a school must get in touch with public health officials if five students, teachers or staff in close contact test positive for COVID in a 10-day period.

In NSW some of the guidelines include maintaining 1.5 metre distancing, maximizing ventilation by holding activities outdoors, staying in small groups to avoid mixing with large numbers of students and avoiding high-risk activities.

Kumar earlier said that they will consider other measures if things get 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.

A number of parents have contacted us and raised concerns about the safety and security of their children as it has also been confirmed by the Ministry of Health that they have received reports of teachers and students testing positive for COVID-19 in schools.

We have been asking the Ministry of Education about how many teachers and students have tested positive for COVID-19 so far and how many positive cases and primary contacts have been isolated.

Fijivillage has asked how the Ministry is implementing COVID safe measures when some classrooms in the country have more than 50 students.

We have also asked what actions can the heads of schools take against those students who are not following all the protocols as there have been reports of students not wearing masks despite being told by the teachers.

Concerns are also being raised that children under the age of 12 years will return to school soon but none of them have been vaccinated and the chances of further transmission is high.

There is also a risk that it will be even harder for teachers to ensure these children follow all the protocols in place.

We sent further questions to the Ministry of Education to clarify the concerns raised by many parents.

They are yet to respond.

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