With the latest increase in Covid-19 cases in the country and children returning to schools, Save the Children Fiji is calling on parents and school teachers to keep children safe and educate them on Covid-safe protocols.
As the new school year began, we urge parents and teachers to educate and empower children to follow ALL Covid-19 safe measures advised by the authorities including wearing masks at all times, washing hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, and keeping a safe distance from everyone. It is also important that children do not go to school when they are sick.
Concerns have also been raised by parents and guardians on the safety of their children returning to school with the increasing number of cases in communities.
Save the Children Chief Executive Officer Shairana Ali said that many parents are reluctant to send their children to school because they fear that their children will contract Covid.
“Some parents have also reported that their children are vulnerable as they have pre-existing medical conditions and vaccinations aren’t available for their age group yet. Some parents are struggling to send children to school because they are still unemployed and are not able to afford meals, stationery, and uniforms. Children must be supported to return to classroom-based learning and we support the Ministry of Education, Heritage, and Arts (MEHA) decision to re-open schools however, school management must work closely with parents and provide timely and appropriate information that reassures parents that their children will be learning in Covid safe schools. All schools must be equipped with personal protective equipment, exercise 2-meter distancing, and ensure school counsellors are providing timely psychosocial support to children who may be facing challenges returning to schools after an extended period. Furthermore, teachers must be equipped to initiate appropriate protocols swiftly if any student displays covid symptoms” said Ali.
Save the Children Fiji is also calling on both the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, Ministry of Health, and Medical Services to keep monitoring the current Covid situation and take swift, decisive, and appropriate actions to safeguard children and their learning.
Save the Children Fiji is currently providing cash assistance to families affected by Covid-19. Food rations are being distributed to impacted families and school bag kits including stationery items are provided to children.