Schools throughout the country will not start potentially for a month or more and any advice to begin classes will only come from from the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 Oversight Committee.
Initially, the 2022 school year is to begin tomorrow but the COVID-19 outbreak in Honiara, Guadalcanal and Malaita has interrupted the new calender year.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development Dr Franco Roddie speaking during the COVID-19 Oversight Committee radio programme today said: “It might be a long time before we open the schools.”
The PS said the opening of the new school year will be subject to review every month.
Dr Roddie explains that the delay is because COVID-19 has so far affected about 20 communities in Honiara and other provinces. Additionally, he said, starting from Early Childhood Education to form 6 only a few students have received their vaccinations.
He said schools attract mass gatherings as classrooms consist of 15 to 45 pupil and it would be easy for students who are infected to pass on the virus to others.
The government before Christmas started the roll out of Pfizer for those between 12 to 18 years and pregnant mothers. Pfizer was meant for school kids between 12 to 18 years.
The government hopes to have the students vaccinated in the weeks ahead to fight against the current COVID-19 community transmission especially in Honiara.
Meanwhile Dr Roddie said until they are advised by health authorities that it is safe to go back to school before they begin classes for 2022.
He said because of that students will remain at their homes and they will start the learning continuity programme.
The programme comprises of lessons for ECE, primary, and secondary schools and will be broadcast on SIBC.
Dr Roddie admits that it would not be easy for those in the remote areas and don’t have access to quality radio reception. He confirms that the programme will start in early February.
According to Dr Roddie those in urban areas will have access to the programme on TV.
He urges parents to supervise their children once it rollouts out.