Savaii Principal backs measles closure

Despite coming on the cusp of year-end exams, the Principal of Safune Primary school in Savaii has praised the Government's decision to shut down primary schools early to stop the potential spread of measles.

Following the death of two infants highly expected to have died of the disease, the Ministry of Health announced last last week that Primary Schools will close from the 15th of November.  Secondary Schools will shut from November 29.

Safune Principal, Vaifale Puleiata Akisa Fuimaono, told the Samoa Observer that despite the action potentially disrupting forthcoming exams, he said he is a true believer in the adage that prevention is better than cure. 

"I fully support the decision to close schools early this year," Vaifale said. "Our children are most vulnerable to the disease, therefore it is only right that we prioritise their health and well-being. It is better to take action now before it gets very dangerous, prevention is always better than cure."

Asked if the decision has somehow affects the school's activities and timetable for this year, his reply was:

"Look, we're already doing revisions last week and this week to prepare for final exams," he said. 

"The original schedule was that we have finals on the 6th week. However, with the decision to shut down schools early, this means that the final week of school is on week six of the term.

"The only problem for us is that we had to quickly print and organize a new exam timetable for the students so they can have finals this week.

"The teachers have set their exams already and have been submitted before the decision was made. Therefore, all we had to do was to change the schedule and started printing the papers."

Moreover, Vaifale said they been encouraging the students and parents to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Last week on Friday, we had a school assembly and we reminded the children who haven't been vaccinated to go with their parents in the nearby hospital to get vaccinated," he said. 

"We remind them also that if they ever fell ill, they should ask their parents to take them to the hospitals and be excused from school.

"School is important, but their health and well-being is more important.

"We've also had a few students who have been excused from school today because their parents said they are taking them to the hospital to be vaccinated.

"The early closure of schools is the best decision to stop the spread of measles and to ensure that our children are safe."

Safune Primary school are now having final examinations for all levels starting today and will end on Friday.

Their prize giving will take place next week on Friday and it will also be the last day of school for this year.

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