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Education CEO Says the COVID-19 Situation In Schools Does Not Call for Panic

The current surge in Covid-19 cases has sparked concerns across the country. With almost three hundred schools recently reopening for hybrid learning, parents too had expressed concerns over having their children return to the classrooms. Those concerns were based on fears that their children would contract the virus. For parents at St Martin de Porres Primary School, their fears and concerns were today compounded after three students, who returned to school on Monday, tested positive. A situation that has also cast fear in many other parents across the country. However, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, Dian Maheia says the situation does not call for any form of panic.

Dian Maheia, CEO, Ministry of Education: “We have the COVID notification form as you know by now and when schools have any sort of cases whether they’re confirmed cases or they are successful cases the schools fill out the forms. The thing to understand is that any school who has a confirmed or suspected case fills out this form. Whether the school is open for hybrid learning or for distanced learning only so the forms that we have had come in so far are reflective of all schools. In other words we are getting reports from some schools that are reporting that they have teachers who have COVID but these teachers are at home because the schools are still having only distanced learning. So that’s one situation that’s happening. We also have the situation where we have some reports coming from schools that have already opened for hybrid learning and we really need to recognize the quick action of the Ministry of Health and Wellness because they received the forms when we do that’s the way the forms are set up, any submission goes automatically to all of us and so they are able to act right away on the notification send in their teams, do the requisite testing and then make the recommendations. What we’re seeing is that we have had indications where we’ve had students who have tested positive and you know the other students who were with them have been tested and asked to quarantine . The thing is that from all indications, the information that we have right now with the two days that have gone since students have returned for hybrid and some students have been in the classroom this is not enough time for us to say that there is any sort of spread within the schools. What the indication is that these schools would have been incubating at home you know the virus, they would have caught it from before and then they came to school with it within two days there is not they wouldn’t have caught it been showing symptoms, tested positive that sort of thing period that is the understanding that we have.”

According to Maheia, a total of one hundred twenty-five students countrywide have contracted COVID-19 since Monday’s reopening. However, the CEO says the number is less than one percent of the total amount of students that returned to the classrooms.

Dian Maheia, CEO, Ministry of Education: “The really important thing here is that what this highlights for us is the need for everyone to be responsible. It’s not for us to panic, panic is not going to solve anything here. We have to know right ? We’re looking at an outbreak in our country, we’re seeing so many positive cases with this omicron variant we had to be prepared for it and our way of response here is to be really responsible. We know how this virus spreads, we know what to do and we know what not to do. We know that this virus will spread from talking, laughing, coughing, sneezing, not wearing a mask so we know the importance of wearing our masks right? And we know that it’s really important right now for people to observe the protocols. Where school is concerned it’s critically important right now that parents do their part by not sending children who are exhibiting cold and flu like symptoms to school. Everyone needs to play their part. If you have someone in your house who is tested positive for COVID please do not send your child to school, if you have someone in your house who is waiting for COVID test results please do not send your child to school. If you have come with seen cases where siblings are some are home sick and some are going to school, if you have more than one child and one is at home sick please do not send the others to school.”

Maheia says that the Ministry will continue to follow the situation and provide updates as they become available.