2 May 2023 Apia Samoa. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education, Aeau Chris Hazelman, has called on teachers to step up during the one-week school lockdown in Samoa.
“Please teachers, step up. This is not a week-off for teachers and school principals. Let us not repeat what arose during Covid where schools were shut down for seven weeks and some school principals and teachers did nothing.”
“Faamolemole faiaoga, tulai mai, e lē o se vaiaso malolo lenei mo faiaoga ma pule aoga. Aua ne’i toe tulai mai le faafitauli lea na tulai mai i le koviti, e fitu vaiaso na malolo ai aoga, ae leai ma se galuega a nisi o faiaoga ma ulu aoga na faia.
Last Wednesday the Samoa Cabinet called a one-week extension to school holidays after the Ministry of Health presented statistics on widespread infections of the Influenza B virus amongst children presenting at the Motootua National Hospital.
An announcement by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC) called for school closures from 1-5 May 2023. The same announcement had also clarified that teachers would continue normal working hours, 9am to 5pm to ensure student “learning packages” were prepared for parents to collect.
Chief Executive Officer Aeau has called for teachers and parents to work together and ensure student learning packages are collected from schools, so students can continue to work from home.
“During the seven weeks of Covid there were schools that completely shut down and even teachers stopped working for that period, while some parents did not come in to collect student work,” said Aeau.
“O nisi o faiaoga sa malolo i lea piriota, ae o isi matua e le’i o’o ifo e piki mea’aoga a le fanau. Saunoa Aeau, o se taimi tonu lava lea e galulue felagolagomai ai faiaoga ma tuitui i le pito laau a matua.
Aeau says it is crucial for teachers and parents to collaborate and work together during such times, to ensure minimum impact on student learning.
Meantime the Ministry of Health CEO Aiono Dr Alec Ekeroma announced the rapid spread of the Influenza B virus in Samoa and among children.
According to Aiono, more than 1,500 children presented with symptoms of the flu within one week.
“That is compared to the month of March, where only 500 children presented with the flu for the entire month.”
The Samoa Director General explained that if left untreated, or in more severe cases, influenza B can cause pneumonia, bronchitis or respiratory failure with the elderly at highest risk.
The Ministry of Health advises the public to wear masks and be vigilent at this time.
Antiviral medications, plenty of fluids such as fresh niu and vaitipolo, and lots of rest can help your body fight the infection.