Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts, Premila Kumar today launched a number of advocacy resources on COVID Safety Measures which have been developed with the support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
As schools reopen, the Ministry continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF to provide as much support as possible to students, teachers and parents in ensuring that everyone plays their part in keeping students safe.
“The decision to reopen schools takes into account numerous factors, including potential health risks as well as negative impacts of school closures on students. The risks to children being out of school continue to be greater than the risks of them being in school,” said Minister Kumar
The Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts has also supported schools with sanitizers, masks and hygienic items which will further boost their existing resources in creating and maintaining a safe school environment. These were generously donated by a number of development partners, private sector, NGOs and individuals.
In collaboration with MHMS, WHO and UNICEF, the Ministry has also revised the school reopening guidelines which was sent to schools last week to guide and support schools on how to create and maintain a safe school environment. The guidelines entail all necessary details which equip Heads of Schools and teachers to keep the students and themselves safe in the schools.
Whilst speaking at the launch, Minister Kumar said “as we begin the New Year we must do what we can to engage our students in learning. This is most important. Of course, we do this while taking the necessary measures to keep our students safe.   We must not forget that this is a shared responsibility of all of us and we all must ensure that our students continue their education in a safe environment”.
The advocacy resources or information launched includes brochures, cards, posters and stickers which will provide checklist before students leave home, information on hygiene practices at school, COVID symptoms to look out for, message for teachers to follow proper COVID safe protocols, hand washing tips, summary of COVID safety guidelines whilst the TV and radio messages are for parents and children which are meant to amplify the excitement and momentum around return to school.
“It is important we all support schools to resume in-person learning by doing everything possible to mitigate against the transmission of the virus,” said the Minister.
The Education Minister emphasised that the Ministry in collaboration with MHMS, WHO and UNICEF  is doing all it can to inform students, teachers and parents of all measures that are preventive and aimed at keeping our schools open.
The Minister also noted the excitement among students on the reopening of the schools as well as large number of students who are keen to get vaccinated. 
She calls upon every Fijian to apply factual and practical approach to COVID-19, as the Fijian Government recognises the importance of education and is committed to supporting the continuity of student learning.

Minister Kumar assured that the Ministry will continue its regular dialogue with MHMS, UNICEF and WHO to support schools to keep students, teachers and ancillary staff safe.