Nacosec warns schools

Nacosec warns schools

MASERU – The National Covid-19 Secretariat (Nacosec) CEO Dr ’Malitaba Litaba this week threatened to shut down schools which are not observing guidelines to curb the pandemic.
Dr Litaba said this as she refuted allegations that she had already closed some of the schools in Maseru this week.

She said Nacosec working together with education authorities advised schools on what they should do to prevent infections.
Dr Litaba spoke a few days after the Ministry of Education and Nacosec inspected some schools in Maseru to check on Covid compliance.
“We recommended compliance at the schools as they were not complying with the protocols,” Dr Litaba said.

She said they found learners wearing big masks that were not fitting their tiny faces and they had to frequently put them back into place with their hands, which could increase chances of infections as they touched their faces with hands.

She also said children were not practising physical distancing and were clueless of sanitiser usage and disinfectants.
“Our fear came when we wanted to open schools to full capacity,” she said.
“This could increase infections. Their rotation has protected us thus far and if we move from it we will be in danger.”

She said they will only shut down schools if their recommendations are ignored intentionally.
“There will be severe consequences but now we understand that they didn’t fully understand as it was only done theoretically so we showed them practical (ways of how they could improve),” she said.
She said they don’t want to go as far as shutting down as it affects children and the country as a whole.

“All we want is for protection of both learners and teachers.”
She said Districts Covid-19 Secretariats (Discosecs) are supposed to inspect schools to ensure safety.
“Nacosec can’t reach all districts hence the need for Discosec to support schools in their plans.”

The Education Principal Secretary, Dr Lira Khama, shared similar sentiments adding that they reprimanded the principals.
He said some schools have luxury of classrooms and they are able to practice physical distancing without having to rotate.
“We allow operation of full capacity where the number of learners is already limited,” Dr Khama said.

He said they monitor adherence on daily basis.
He appealed to schools to comply.
“We don’t want a repeat of what happened in January once the third wave comes. Let’s not allow schools closures again.”

The Lesotho Association of Teachers (LAT) Secretary General Letsatsi Ntsibolane commended the Ministry and Nacosec for the gesture.
He said most schools were not complying with the Covid-19 recommendations.
“They want to make money at the expense of learners and teachers. We understand they need money but they should comply,” Ntsibolane said.

The Lesotho Schools Principals Association (Lespa) spokesman, Mathafeng Moteuli, said non-compliance to Covid-19 protocols is unacceptable as schools could be super spreaders and both teachers and children’s lives could be endangered.
He urged schools to comply so that they will continue teaching through shifts.

The Lesotho Teachers Trade Union (LTTU) General Secretary ’Mapitso Molai said it was proper to close schools that endanger the lives of teachers and pupils.
She said distribution of pupils across the country was uneven and it doesn’t make sense in this Covid-19 crisis.

“Some schools are keeping hundreds of learners whereas others don’t have any and they can’t be able to comply due to lack of resources such as classrooms – they overlook the health and safety of teachers as frontliners in the education sector and this shouldn’t be tolerated,” Molai said.

She said it would serve them right if they were closed down as they are putting other people’s lives in danger.
“This should be a lesson for all schools to comply,” she said.

’Mapule Motsopa

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