Minister laments low consent level for school Covid screening
Irresponsible behaviour during the pandemic is putting children’s education at risk MPs heard.
Diallo Rabain, the education minister, also poke in the House of Assembly on the “tough decision” for public schools to pivot to remote learning for the first day of school yesterday.
But he said the ministry was “hopeful that we will be able to get some schools back to in-person learning next week”.
Mr Rabain told the House of Assembly the move had come due to “circumstances out of our control” as case numbers rose.
He urged the community to heed public health regulations against the spread of coronavirus.
“As of today, just over 50 per cent of our students have consent from their parents to be part of the saliva screening programme,” he said.
“An even fewer percentage of staff have consented, although we continue to have staff test positive for Covid-19 resulting from close contacts of other infected persons.
“It can be easily observed that people, including children, are not wearing masks when required to do so, and at times highlighting on social media and the like when they can avoid using SafeKey to enter events and places that require them.
“I have even heard stories of events and locations that require SafeKey yet not adhering to these rules.”
He added: “I cannot stress enough that we as a people must exercise a level of personal responsibility, particularly if we desire to have our children return to in-school learning in short order.”
Mr Rabain said resources were sufficient to support remote learning, with donated laptops distributed to 1,349 primary school students.
The decision to return to school would have to take into account “country status, staff and substitute and testing result status”.
He said: “While we cannot mandate anyone to be tested before returning to school or participate in the saliva screening programme, we urge our staff, parents and guardians to consider doing so.
“We hope you are not just thinking of yourself, but we advise you to consider the effect your actions may have on others and our ability to get our children back to school.”