Namibia: Fifth Wave Hits Schools …Closures a Thing of the Past

As the country enters into yet another wave of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, 129 learners have since tested positive for Covid-19 over the weekend, and the number is estimated to have increased during the course of the week.

This was revealed by the education ministry’s executive director Sanet Steenkamp.

As Covid-19 has caused major disruptions within various sectors, including the ministry of education for the past two years, Steenkamp said the ministry has gained tremendous experience in the management of these cases; thus, they do not plan to close schools as was the case in the past.

This is also an acknowledgment of the disruption Covid-19 had, especially on learners and the sector, during the previous school closure. “I wish to add that the ministry of education cannot guarantee that there will be no major disruptions; that is why we try to be as prepared as possible by coming up with a semester calendar where we have, during the coldest winter time, a holiday that stretches for five weeks,” she stated.

Due to an outcry about the pandemic and to contain the Covid-19 cases in schools, the ministry has resorted to a two-term school calendar earlier this year.

This was done to allow children and teachers not to go to school during winter.

The first term, which will end in two weeks, was meant to provide sufficient time for teachers to cover all the syllabi, and to also do revision.

Steenkamp ensured the ministry is working hard to closely monitor the situation and avoid any major disruptions in schools.

“One third of the population (850 000) of this country are learners, and they are in schools. We are aware that learners are social beings, and the school is a social unit and that the children are moving from the communities to the schools, but I want to categorically state that we are working hard, and we have a national surveillance team in place,” she ensured.

The ministry aims for the education to continue, and it has a recovery plan for schools to continue.

“The fact that schools were closed due to the disruptions of Covid-19 is what we truly avoid at this stage – and if it’s necessary, the surveillance team in the regions and schools will make an assessment and guide us on the way forward,” added Steenkamp.

The executive director called on the close collaboration of parents and community members to facilitate proper behaviour when it comes to compliance, and for learners to adhere to the necessary precautions.

Among the latest 229 positive cases reported on 24 May 2022, 57 are learners and 11 teachers tested positive.

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