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Jul 24, 2020

Francis Fonseca Raises Concerns About Schools Reopening

Francis Fonseca

In the House today, former Minister of Education Francis Fonseca, while speaking on adjournment, raised the issue of the preparation of schools ahead of the start of the new academic year.  His concerns have to do with the tremendous responsibility being placed on principals and teachers without adequate training in how to go about managing a potential case of COVID-19 among students within a classroom setting.  He says that there are new guidelines that all education stakeholders must follow.


Francis Fonseca, Area Representative, Freetown

“People are all asking what will happen if we have, one day our students go to school and all of a sudden five students in a particular classroom get sick.  So what are these procedures?  How will we be able to manage sickness in schools?  We already have, in ordinary times we have, I mean schools are breeding ground for transmission.  You know this better than anybody, for basic flu and lice and all these other things.  It‘s a breeding ground for that type of thing.  One student has a cold and before you know it, half the class has the cold.  So these are critical, critical issues.  Essential cleaning and disinfecting supplies, the ministry has produced the guidelines, produced a list that contains twenty-one items, Madame Speaker, these are essential cleaning and disinfecting supplies.  A comprehensive list but where will these things come from?  These things cost a lot of money, and as many people have said, this is not about the first week of school.  This is not even about the first month of school.  This is for the long haul, we certainly know that this thing will be with us certainly for the next six months.  So I’ve given you a brief overview, Madame Speaker, of what is contained in the guidelines and I certainly believe these guidelines will help.  As I said, I view them as a good faith effort.  They will help, but the big concern, Madame Speaker, is that they place too much responsibility, too much burden on principals teachers of schools.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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