Fiji parents warned about sick children in back-to-school catch-up

Fiji students walk to a secondary school in Suva
Fiji students walk to a secondary school in Suva. Image: The Fiji Times File

By Timoci Vula in Suva

Fiji parents are advised not to send their children to school today if they are not feeling well as the country is rocked by a third wave of the covid-19 pandemic.

That was the advice from the Ministry of Education as the last term for 2021 begins on January 4 for Years 8 to 13 to make up the education gap.

Education Minister Premila Kumar said the students were expected to comply with covid-safe measures introduced in school, including the wearing of masks.

“We must all take the necessary steps to reduce risk of covid-19 in our communities to keep our schools safe,” Kumar said.

The minister said the ministry was also aware that not all students had had regular and reliable access to online learning tools during the long school closure due to covid-19.

As such, she said the return of students to school this month would provide them with the opportunity and resources to work closely with their teachers to successfully complete the requirements of the 2021 academic year before progressing to the next level.

“We know that face-to-face learning is vital for the academic achievement, mental and physical health, and overall well-being of our students.

“By continuing to work together, we can help ensure a positive school experience for everyone.”

Kumar added that the schools would be finalising the provisional enrolments for the 2022 academic year by the end of January 2022, giving parents and guardians ample time to prepare their children for the new school year.

805 new cases in Fiji
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services reported 805 new cases of covid-19 in the last three days ending at 8am on Sunday morning.

“Since the last update on 29/12/2021, we have recorded a total of 805 new cases; of which 316 new cases were recorded on 30/12/2021, 223 new cases were recorded on 31/12/2021, and 266 new cases in the last 24 hours ending at 8 am this morning,” stated the ministry in a statement.

The Fiji Times reports that Health Secretary Dr James Fong said plans to amend curfew hours and close Fiji’s international borders were still under discussion.

He said that if a variant was transmissible enough, stringent border and community measures would only delay the inevitable entry and spread of current and future variants of the covid-19 virus.

“We must all get vaccinated when it is our turn and continue to be strict with our covid-19 safe measures,” he said.

The ministry, in a statement, said that from January 1, 2022, travellers from travel partner and non-travel partner countries must produce a negative covid-19 PCR test taken no more than two calendar days before the scheduled day of departure.

Timoci Vula is a Fiji Times reporter. Republished with permission.

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