COVID-19 Fiji: Minister responds to critics on school reopening

Balata College Principal Atish Chand (left) escorts Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts Premila Kumar to tour their school premises in Balata Tavua. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Why should schools be closed when borders are open?

This was Minister for Education Premila Kumar’s response to critics of Government’s school resumption plans.

While speaking to teachers at the Balata College in Tavua yesterday, Mrs Kumar reiterated that schools would be COVID-19 safe once they reopened.

“If I look at the statistics or the data that we collected during that week (January 4), there were 67 per cent students around Fiji who attended classes,” she said.

“So if 67 per cent of students attended classes, that means only 33 per cent did not attend classes or were not in a school.

“Yet, we hear negative publicity that the schools should be closed and today, I want to question why the schools should be closed when the borders are open?

“Supermarkets are open, bars are open, gyms are open. Basically, all commercial activities are open.

“There is no lockdown. People are going to work and the only thing, unfortunately, the call that is being made is the closure of schools and that is really not making any sense.

“There are concerns raised that children are exposed to COVID but ample research shows that the immunity in our children is much stronger.

“If that was not the case, then the WHO would have announced that children should be vaccinated first before the adults.

“That did not happen, right?,” she added.

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