Safety vital for learners

SCHOOLS are re-opening tomorrow against a backdrop of a second wave of COVID-19 and parents need not be told that nothing has changed from the last time they were advised to ensure safety for their school-going children.
Though it is increasingly getting risky to expose children to gatherings, Government has deemed it necessary to allow learners to recover from last year’s loss when schools were closed for over five months.
The lessons learnt from last year’s closure of schools should motivate parents and the learners alike to religiously adhere to health guidelines.
With the numbers of people dying of COVID-19 increasing every day and those of people testing positive to the virus coming in their thousands since the beginning of this year, there is need for everyone not to take life for granted.
It should be noted that time for doubting the deadliness of coronavirus is gone and it is now time for all and sundry to concentrate on creating a safe environment, more so for children in schools.
Government is right to prescribe a strict mechanism for ensuring adherence to health measures in schools and the onus is on authorities to prove that they can do it without being pushed.
Private schools, which last year suffered a great deal because of the closure of schools, would not want to go through the same experience this year.
Owners of private schools should not take chances by adopting a business as usual stance because coronavirus is no respecter of sectors.
Many teachers in private schools lost their jobs last year because of the indefinite closure and would do well this time around to see to it that they avoid dropping their guard to remain in business.
The learners also need to understand that Government’s decision to go ahead and re-open schools tomorrow is in their best interest and they need to follow all COVID-19 preventive guidelines.
Pupils should help school authorities to avoid having their learning institutions closed because of not adhering to stipulated health guidelines.
Proof of adherence to health guidelines in schools also lies squarely on the responsibility of the learners themselves to always wear face masks and observe social distancing.
The authorities can only do so much but the pupils’ good behaviour in so far as observing COVID-19 rules are concerned will guarantee safe environments for themselves and their teachers.
Learners should not bask in the notion that the disease only affects those above 50 years but they should realise that the new COVID-19 strain is stronger than the first one.
We also call upon parents to encourage their children to avoid stubbornly crowded places when they are out of school premises because exposing themselves to such environments would negate the efforts being made in schools to minimise the risk of them contracting the virus.
Parents should not put their children at risk by sending them to some market places which, apparently, have resisted the blade of change in the new normal.
Those who use public transport when going to and from school should protect themselves at all times to prevent carrying the virus to school with them.
All efforts the schools are undertaking to prevent the spread of coronavirus would be in vain if pupils bring it in school by virtue of commuting to school using uncooperative public buses in the fight against the disease.
We commend Government for seeing the need to avoid disturbing the school calendar this year so that there is no crisis in the education system.