Namibia: Govt Assures Learners Safety

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday assured parents and stakeholders that all necessary precautions will be taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as grade 11 and 12 learners return to the classroom tomorrow for face-to-face learning.

Shangula said his ministry has prescribed minimum conditions for schools to meet, including the provision of potable water, hygienic ablution facilities as well as the delivery of amenities for hand washing and sanitising.

Pupils and teachers are also expected to conform to the mandatory requirements of wearing of masks and practicing social distance. Government has endorsed a staggered approach to reopen the schools in order to save the academic year. The second phase will see the resumption of classes for pre-primary to grade 3 learners on 22 June. Thereafter, grade 7 and 9 will resume in phase 3 starting 6 July until 18 December. Phase 4 will then follow with the resumption of grades 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 on 20 July. Shangula yesterday said a number of factors, including the fact that there is no evidence of community transmission of the coronavirus in the country, informed government's decision to reopen the economy and thus allowing more businesses to operate under stage 3, which is effective today. He also said the Basic Reproduction Ratio, which is the expected number of cases directly generated by one case in a susceptible population, remains less than one. "All the latest Covid-19 positive cases are imported from outside Namibia. Restrictive measures in stage 3 provide sufficient safeguards for the prevention of possible transmission. Public health measures in stage 3 are considered adequate to prevent possible transmission of infection even in cases of face-to-face education and training settings as well as during limited public gatherings," he said. "Notwithstanding the above, the risk of infection in a pandemic situation cannot be eliminated entirely. However, one has to weigh the probability of infection against other socio-economic imperatives and the inalienable rights to education." Namibia has 25 confirmed cases, including 16 recoveries and nine active cases.

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