BY ALEX DADAMU
ALL Classes for Early Childhood Education within the city boundary – whom in the advice of closure for 2 weeks which begins last week, has again been instructed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to remain close until the respective Education Authority issues further advice on the current situation.
The advice was made by Prime Minister Sogavare in his national address on Monday.
According to Sogavare, classes for other forms and grades will continue as usual until further notice.
However, Prime Minister Sogavare reiterated that Schools must activate their Incidental Standard Operations Procedures (I-SOP) and implement COVID-19 Safety Measures which includes no handshaking.
“Avoid crowded areas, washing hands with soap and water, use hand sanitizer sanitizers, coughing into elbows and wearing masks in schools and public places,” the Prime Minister reiterated.
Meanwhile, last week, just days after the announcement of the first COVID-19 case on Saturday, October 3rd, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development (MEHRD) has advised Principals in schools to implement ‘Incidental Standard Operation Procedures,’ (I-SOP).
According to the Deputy Secretary of MEHRD, James Bosamata in a radio announcement on SIBC all Schools must implement, ‘Incidental Standard Operation Procedures’ or I-SOP in short.
“All schools must practice Social and Physical Distancing and must always practice healthy hygiene e.g. handwashing with soap or hand sanitizer and cough into the elbow, etc…,” Bosamata advised.
In a press conference last week, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Dr. Franco Rodie has also made clarifications that MEHRD is not advising schools to close down.
PS Rodie made the clarifications to the media following reports that certain schools are calling off classes without their authorization following the announcement of the first Positive COVID-19 case in the country last week.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his address on Monday stated that for schools to implement I-SOP and apply Social Distancing – they are part of a set of new measures approved by the cabinet on Monday.
“Thus, I am urging everyone to comply with these immediate measures as a means of preparedness for the ongoing safety of each individual and our population as a whole.
“That said, it must also be made clear that all other measures under the state of public emergency regulations orders remain in place throughout the country,” The Prime Minister said.
He furthers that there will be no immediate lockdown until further advice.