‘Kids should be in school’ – children’s advocate

07 September 2020 | Education

The Children’s Advocate in the Office of the Ombudsman on Saturday expressed its support for the re-opening of schools for face-to-face teaching and learning.
This follows after the ministry of education, arts and culture announced that learners are to return to school for face-to-face classes in three phases, with the grade 7, 8 and 9 returning to school today. The grade 10, 11 and 12 learners returned to school on 1 September 2020. The grade 4, 5 and 6 will reopen on 14 September, while the pre-primary to grade 3 will resume on 21 September.
A media statement from the Children’s Advocate said: “We are in a better position at the moment as more research has come to light giving us a better understanding of the coronavirus, which in turn will help us fight this virus, so we the children's advocate of Namibia and the Ombudsman’s Office at large support the re-opening of Namibian schools.”
The statement said medical research shows that children biologically contain SARS-CoV2 better than adults, adding that children are less likely to get sick if infected, have milder disease and are unlikely to die from Covid-19.
“Research has also indicated that school closures carry high social and economic costs for people across all communities. Violence is rife in the Namibian context and according to the Situational Analysis of Children in Namibia (UNICEF, 2018), children of all ages are at greatest risk of violence within the household,” the statement said.
Furthermore, the statement said the protection of children is of utmost importance and all possibilities of harm must be considered. “It is just as important that our educational facilities are also protected, which the ministry of education has shown tremendous commitment to achieve. Education is important for children because they are the future of the world.”
The statement added that educators should encourage students to become advocates for disease prevention and control at home, in school and in their community by talking to others about how to prevent the spread of viruses. “Maintaining safe school operations or reopening schools after a closure requires many considerations but, if done well, can promote public health. Precautions are necessary to prevent the potential spread of Covid-19 in school settings, we are confident that our schools are up to date with the precautionary measures to combat the spread of this virus and have put these in place to protect our children.” – Nampa

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