Exams in isolation rooms amid epidemic
Secondary schools are seeking novel ways to protect the health of their students from measles infections as they sit for Samoa School Certificate (S.S.C.) and Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate (S.S.L.C.) exams.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the President of the Samoa Secondary Schools Principal Association, Lesaisaea Reupena Matafeo, said that their school has set up an isolation room as a precaution for students who may display symptoms.
“At the moment, our school has prepared a special isolation room with the purpose of hosting students who could have symptoms of measles who want to sit their exams,” he said.
Lesaisaea stated that he is currently in charge of this unit and that the objective of setting up the room is to avoid the spread of measles amongst students.
“Our Executive Committee for the Principals’ Association is very proactive in addressing the measles concern within our schools.
“We try our best in identifying any students with symptoms for measles but also some parents have called in excusing their children for having symptoms of measles and we make sure the students stay home for their recovery and safety for other students.
“For our school alone, we have had more than ten cases of students who have measles. In terms of students who cannot attend their exams because of measles we will inform the supervisors of the exams so that M.E.S.C. is aware and see if there is a suitable time for them to sit their exams.”
He also added that the students of years nine; ten and 11 for most of the secondary schools have completed their final year exams and will be asked to stay home.
“So for the next two weeks only students for Years 12 and 13 will report to schools for their Samoa School Certificate (S.S.C.) and the Samoa Secondary Leaving Certificate (S.S.L.C.) exams,” he said.
“Most schools have followed the instructions from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education Sports and Culture in terms of protective measure in relation to measles.
“The aim is to minimize gatherings to avoid the spread and impact of the disease [measles]. On November 26, parents of students in Year 9, 10, 11 are asked to make their way to school and pick up their children’s report cards while students stay home.”
Mr. Matafeo said that prizes will be given to the parents of students who have won awards in their classes instead of having a formal prize giving.
“According to the Principal of Leififi College, Sifuiva Malaea Lauano their school will also do the same but I think most schools are also considering the same idea.
“My only advice and also I think most principals agree that we are facing a critical health issue and those students who have been infected with measles should stay home.
“For students preparing for exams, please have enough rest, and come prepared for examinations.”
He also advised parents to please pick up their children the moment they finish exams.
“As for those going by bus, we have prepared our school busses to take them to the bus stations so they can catch a bus home.
“All students will come back on November 25 but as advised by M.E.S.C. all schools will close on the 29th of November.”