Last Updated on 6 months by Publishing Team
HEALTH MINISTRY REASSURES PUBLIC OF COVID-19 SAFETY MEASURES IN SCHOOLS
A student at a secondary school in Lautoka, who experienced COVID-19 like symptoms during the first week of Year 12 and Year 13 students resuming school, has been cleared after tests conducted for COVID-19 returned negative.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services confirms that the student fell ill while attending class, and protocols to treat a student presenting with COVID-19 symptoms in the school environment were immediately activated. The COVID-19 safe protocols included isolating the student to the designated school sickbay, with quick action taken to ensure the student was comfortable and provided with the necessary medical attention. Furthermore, contact tracing and containment protocols were initiated.
It is now evident that given the updated laboratory results, the student’s symptoms were not related to COVID-19. As previously mentioned in our public advice, given the endemic nature of COVID-19 in Fiji, this is a scenario that is expected to occur again and the risk of secondary transmission from school settings will need ongoing mitigation.
Divisional Medical Officer (DMO) West, Dr. Susana Nakalevu said, “Ensuring the safety and protection of students and all school staff from COVID-19 is a priority as schools reopen and classes resume.”
She assures students, parents, and the public that COVID-19 safe measures contained in the Safe School Reopening Guidelines have been instituted in all schools right across the country and all schools and teachers are equipped and ready to respond to any COVID-19 incident occurring within the confines of the school.
Permanent Secretary, Dr James Fong said “The incident in Lautoka provided an opportunity to effectively follow the Safe School Reopening Guidelines and test our response. The school did well in abiding by the guidelines.”
“We thank the school staff for their prompt activation of the Safe School Reopening Guidelines that involved strict monitoring, early detection, and referral of the symptomatic student.”
In his COVID-19 daily statement, PS Health Dr. Fong has stated that parents and guardians can expect that as school reopening continues, there will be some children who will experience and return positive COVID-19 results.
He reminds students, parents, guardians, and the public that we are living with COVID-19 and we must all take responsibility for the safety of our loved ones and our communities.
“Vaccination and receiving two doses protect us and importantly, ensure all vaccine eligible members in our families are fully vaccinated to protect our loved ones and our communities from severe COVID-19.”
The Permanent Secretary reiterated that the practice of COVID-19 safe measures; the proper wearing of masks, washing hands with soap and water or the use of a hand sanitizer, ensuring we cover our coughs and sneezes are all essential to minimizing the risk of transmission in the school environment.
The Permanent Secretary for Education, Heritage, and Arts, Dr. Anjeela Jokhan added that schools will continue to be vigilant in following COVID safe practices. Student safety is paramount as schools open for classes.