Celebrate festive season responsibly to safeguard children: Education

With the festive season less than two weeks away, Fiji’s Ministry of Education is calling on parents, guardians and communities to enjoy the festive season responsibly – in line with COVID-safe behaviour – to safeguard their children and ensure they are in good health for resumption of school next month.

“While the transmission of the virus is less common through schools, it has been found that transmission occurs more easily through communities and if a child contracts the virus from the community, it is possible for the child to take it to school and transmit it to other children. I therefore make a humble plea to parents and communities to observe all COVID Safe Protocols when they gather for celebrations over this festive season,” Minister for Education Premila Kumar said.

“Bringing our students back to school is everyone’s responsibility and I urge each and every one to help in whatever way possible, to make this happen.”

This comes after nine cases of COVID-19 were recorded since classroom learning for years 12 and 13 students started last month. Of the nine, one remains active after eight recovered.

No major outbreak or transmission stemming from the incidents were recorded, Kumar says, because the “heads of schools and the teachers were well prepared to handle the situation.”

“As cases were detected, they were isolated. That was the strategy that was developed with the help of the Ministry of Health.”

She said the health ministry has also been supportive in assisting teachers attend to cases of sick children in school, not necessarily COVID-19 in nature.

The school’s COVID-19 protocol she says also outlines measures that teachers and heads of school must take when a student falls sick during school hours.

“Part of the protocol very clearly outlines that when a child is not feeling well, he or she complains, then what action a teacher must take. In all schools, teachers have been following that guideline, and after every positive case was reported, the ministry of health went back to check whether they followed the protocol.”

Kumar also highlighted some of the work done by teachers and heads of schools to date to ensure their classrooms and school environment facilitates COVID-safe classroom learning come January 2022.

For instance, schools have been given the liberty to use the Free Education Grant to mobilise resources to create a safe school environment. PPEs such as thermal guns, sanitisers, masks, disinfectants and so forth have been given to schools around Fiji. PPEs for students in kindy, primary and special schools will be delivered to their schools a week before they start classroom learning. This week, officials from the health ministry will be visiting primary schools to check their adherence to COVID protocols

Meanwhile, classes for years 12 and 13 finishes this week, for a two-week break, resuming on Tuesday 4 January 2022 along with those in years eight to 11. Classroom lessons for those in kindy up to level seven will start on Monday, 10 January 2022.

Term one of the 2022 school calendar will begin proper in April.

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