Education minister Anna Nghipondoka has discouraged parents from visiting children in boarding schools to minimise the spread of Covid-19, saying the ministry cannot afford to close schools at the moment.
Speaking at a Covid-19 media briefing yesterday Nghipondoka said they have been experiencing a surge in Covid-19 positive cases especially among learners in boarding schools and pleaded with parents to if need be, rather consult with the schools from far and not go and visit their children.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the health ministry’s Covid-19 reports showed that by 15 February 2021, over 700 learners between the ages of five and 19 years had contracted Covid-19 since schools resumed on 26 January. The most affected schools are reportedly in the Kavango East, Kavango West as well as Oshikoto regions.
Nghipondoka however maintained that despite the rising cases, the ministry still believes that children are safer in schools than they are at home where they are often left unattended to and exposed to other social ills.
“Last year we lost 3 000 learners to teenage pregnancy and when schools opened this year, we could not trace about 30 000 learners. So we believe that children are more manageable in schools where it is easier to control them than letting them stay at home where they are left alone when parents go to work. They are more vulnerable outside school,” she said.
Nghipondoka said the ministry is managing the situation and do not plan to close schools. She however said they have suspended out-weekends for all learners at boarding schools where Covid-19 cases are suspected or have been identified.
She also cautioned learners from schools without confirmed cases who will be going for out weekends next Friday to take proper precaution and to adhere to Covid-19 measures.
“We are asking parents to please take care of our children and make sure that when they come back to school again they don’t bring the virus and pass it on to other learners,” she said. -Nampa