Out weekends out, indemnity forms in

25 June 2020 | Education

The education ministry said the use of indemnity forms at schools in relation to Covid-19 is legally enforceable, provided that its conditions are not unlawful.
In a letter to school authorities on Wednesday, executive director Sanet Steenkamp said the ministry sought a legal opinion on the use of indemnity forms in schools from the Attorney General.
She said the Attorney General advised that the issuing of indemnity forms is not prohibited, however, in terms of common law, educational institutions have a duty of care towards learners and employees and an indemnity form cannot absolve a school that was negligent and that failed to honour their legal obligation.
“Therefore, an indemnity form cannot be used as a shield where there is misconduct and dereliction of duties or negligence. Only in cases where schools have put into place all necessary prescribed measures and protocols around Covid-19 and a learner contracts the infection, which is not attributed to the school, will the school be absolved of liability,” Steenkamp said.

No more out weekends
In other education news, out weekends for school hostel boarders have been cancelled for the remainder of the academic year in a bid to catch up with schoolwork as requested by teachers and regional education directors.
In a memo to all regional education directors, Steenkamp said that the 2020 academic year has been characterised by various challenges brought about by the ongoing global pandemic. “As such, as a ministry we had to continuously review our responses to education based on emerging circumstances and challenges as the country continues to be responsive in the fight to keep Namibians safe.”
She said taking into account the fact that learners have lost a substantial number of school days dedicated to teaching and learning, the regional directors have been notified that all out weekends for hostel boarders are cancelled for the remainder of the 2020 academic year.
“This means that hostel boarders shall remain in their hostel for all planned out weekends until the end of the academic year. You are requested to engage with parents to share this information and lobby for their support to deliver toiletries and other necessities as needed to their children at their respective hostels, as the boarders will not travel home for out weekends,” Steenkamp said.
She added that hostel management is expected to ensure that hostel staff, including supervisory teachers, are on duty throughout this period to care for the learners.
Face-to-face classes will resume on 6 July for grades 0 to 3, while grades 7 and 9 will resume on 20 July. Grades 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10 are set to resume with face-to-face lessons on o3 August, with the academic year ending on 18 December. – Nampa

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