Quarantine breakout disrupts classes

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 21 October 2021, 8:48PM

Thousands of students' preparations for the national exams this week were disrupted when they were forced to stay home, following reports a man escaped a quarantine facility.

A late notice from the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture on Wednesday evening urged students in primary schools to stay home for the remainder of the week, except for those sitting the nationwide exams. 

The M.E.S.C. said the changes are precautionary to protect students from COVID-19 and comply with the requests of the National Emergency Operation Centre.

Students in Year 6 and Year 8 were told to go to school on Thursday to sit their national exams. 

On Friday only students in Year 4, Year 6 and Year 8 have been asked to attend classes to sit for their exams while the rest of the student body stayed home.

Several primary schools and pre-schools in the urban area heeded the call from the M.E.S.C. by temporarily closing classes for the rest of this week. 

Some schools issued notices to parents informing them that the closure is also to consider the fact that none of the students were covered in the COVID-19 mass vaccination rollout programme.

Thousands of students across the country are sitting the Samoa Primary Education Literacy Levels (S.P.E.L.L.) and the Samoa National Assessments of Primary Education (S.N.A.P.E.) which kicked off last week. 

The precautionary measures taken by the Ministry on Thursday coincides with the arrival on Thursday of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12-17 years of age.

Meanwhile, the quarantine breakout by the 26-year-old returning seasonal worker on Wednesday morning raised questions about the security of quarantine sites, especially those that are within the vicinity of residential homes.

The breakout led to the abrupt closure of many schools as the students prepared to sit for their final exams of the year.

The seasonal worker left quarantine so he could get money from the Western Union branch in Apia. However, his actions also resulted in more than a dozen people in the office he visited undergoing 14-days quarantine. 

The escapee returned from New Zealand on 14 October and was undergoing 21 days quarantine. 

Director General of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said the 26-year-old is "fully vaccinated, and tested negative on both COVID-19 tests conducted on arrival and again on Monday 18 of October 2021."

By Matai'a Lanuola Tusani T - Ah Tong 21 October 2021, 8:48PM
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