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Savai'i school grapples with social distancing

Students throughout Samoa are having to deal with more problems on top of trying to catch up with school work after a six week extended break.

It seems that getting used to the practice of social distancing is one the biggest challenges of them all.

Social distance as a result of COVID19 pandemic S.O.E. requires a distance of 1.5 metres between people. 

At Itu-o-Tane College at Avao in Savai'i, it they have been trying to put the concept into practise since Monday. 

Principal Laufou Alofipo Fa'amanu Manase said his staff have been working hard to make sure the S.O.E. orders are adhered to.

"We understand it can be hard as the students like to gather around together and spend time with their friends, but we are working very hard to ensure that they will get used to staying apart for now," said Laufou. 

"We have spread the desks and seatings apart during classes and asked the students to avoid gathering together in one place.

"Even though we have no confirmed case of corona-virus in Samoa, we still need to comply with the strategies from the government so that we can prepare for whatever is going to happen to the future."

Laufou also praised the initiative to divide the classes up for different dates for now. 

Nevertheless, Laufou went on to say that they are encouraging their students to wash their hands and continue to practice good hygiene. 

Academic wise, Laufou said there isn't much work that is needed to be done. 

"This is because we made sure to give out assignments for the students during the lockdown. 

"Not only did we give out assignments, but we had visits to each village throughout the first two weeks of lockdown to follow up on the homework that was given out. 

"Our main aim was to make sure that our students were up to date with their notes and assignments. 

"The follow-up visits were to make sure that the parents were aware that there was work given out to the students and that the students had done the work that was required of them and hand them in on time.

"If we didn't execute that plan during the lockdown, we would've struggled so badly trying to catch up with student's assignments now."

However, Laufou said they still need to monitor the students' performances this week and make sure they get back on track with what's happening at school. 

"Six weeks is a lot of time outside of the classroom, and we are not forcing them to start working hard, however, we will monitor closely and slowly and by the end of this week, we will catch up and be updated with everything."


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