Public welcome amended S.O.E. orders

Members of the public including students have welcomed the Government’s relaxing of the state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders but express concern at the impact of school closures on this year's final-year students

The amended S.O.E. orders released last Friday went into effect on Sunday May 3 and opened the door for the reopening of schools and the return of public transport, but on the condition that strict social distancing rules are followed.

A National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) student and Malie village resident, Malo Tomasi, told Samoa Observer that they are relieved to be returning to classes but niggering challenges such as tutors’ slow response remains unresolved.

"The new amendment by our Government is really great, we get to go back to the classroom, learn and ask questions that you need to ask, and you are assured that the tutor will respond right back," he said in an interview.

Another N.U.S. student, Tavita Ropati Aukuso of Salelesi, also shared the same sentiments on the amended S.O.E. orders.

"I think with the reopening of the university, it allows students to learn how to use the moodle platform, because with the lockdown and the past weeks students have been complaining about the moodle platform and I don't blame them at all because it happens," he added.

“Sometimes it is either something that has to do with the network or kids not knowing how to use it.”

A father from Lotopue Aleipata, Sali Fatuolemutu, told Samoa Observer he is pleased with the amended S.O.E. orders which enables the country’s economy to slowly get back to its feet.

However, he said he remains concerned about the children and how the measles epidemic last year and the coronavirus global pandemic this year has disrupted their studies.

"This new order I welcome with open arms but I feel for our kids, because their studies have been disrupted so many times. Last year it was disrupted due to the measles epidemic and this year it's the lock down caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“It is understandable that the lock down is made for safety reasons but reports have had it that Samoa is coronavirus free. I just hope the Government should reconsider their decision to allow Year 6 to Year 8 (students) to continue on with their normal classes, and for colleges, perhaps just Year 11 to Year 13.”

Mr Fatuolemutu said he is of the view that these are the classes, whose students need a lot of time to catch-up with studies, especially Year 13 pupils who have to compete for a N.U.S. university preparatory year placing in 2021.

"Lots of kids who have graduated from the University are still jobless, we really need to work on getting back our economy," he added.

And while Mr Fatuolemutu appreciates the Government's decision to ease the restrictions under the amended S.O.E. orders, he said it was important to continue the ban on international travel into Samoa. 

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