Sep 06, 2021 Letters
The Ministry of Health should be applauded for keeping the COVID death rate low, but we must keep in mind that children like to play with each other and are higher risk takers due to their age. Our top schools continue to struggle with fixing basic infrastructural shortfalls. Broken windows, poor plumbing, lack of cleaning supplies, a shortage of textbooks and the list goes on. It is becoming more important to ensure that the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Infrastructure refocus on the basic needs of the schools. If our top schools lack such basic supplies, then there is obviously a large gap vs. our needs in how we are investing as a Nation.
Every household that has a child going to school is at risk of COVID exposure and if the money isn’t spent to fix up the schools to ensure that measures to combat COVID are in place then of what use are the other aspects of the COVID containment strategy.
It is unfortunate that large groups of the population continue to resist being vaccinated. Some of the school going children will come from these groups and will put at risk the health and safety of others.
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education must safeguard against this and having a clear policy and screening process is important to ensure COVID doesn’t enter our schools. Hopefully, the Ministry of Education will reconsider its current strategic plan and put in place a cohesive and actionable strategy to deal directly with the Pandemic and post Pandemic safeguards for our educational system.
Many would and should prefer to see the ribbon cutting on a box of critical health and safety supplies for our schools instead of a ribbon cutting on a pipeline or road that is less urgent. Close to 50% of our population is under 18 and although not of voting age, they do come from households filled with voters. Votes shouldn’t be the motivation to do the correct thing. Keeping all of our citizens safe should suffice, but the reality of the situation informs us.
I have provided information to the pertinent Ministry for them to obtain free health supplies to fill the current shortages being experienced, yet the response has been less than adequate. Some politicians have made the vaccine a political issue and this is very disappointing. Others have made money making projects more important than the safety of our children and this also is very disappointing and unfortunate.
The safety of our children must take precedence over the selfish desires of the few and as the old saying goes “actions speak louder than words”.
We must see an immediate COVID focused effort at our schools that ensures sustainable investment in the school’s infrastructure and a clear process for COVID safeguards to be implemented that will ensure the health and safety of all school going children. Rhetoric lacking action will not suffice.
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