No jab! Go to school

Director National Education Service Delivery Timoci Bure. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

Year 12 and Year 13 students who begin classes next week Monday do not have to be vaccinated to enter their school premises, says Education Ministry’s head of national education service delivery Timoci Bure.

He reiterated what Education Minister Premila Kumar had said earlier this month that there was no “no jab, no school policy”.

However, the country’s two teacher unions — Fiji Teachers Union and Fijian Teachers Association — said further clarification was needed because the Safe School Reopening Guidelines issued earlier this month stated anyone above the age of 15 years had to be fully vaccinated before entering a school premises.

“It is not obligatory for school students to be partially or fully vaccinated,” he said in response to queries from The Fiji Times.

Mr Bure said schools were well-prepared to receive students, both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. “The COVID-19 protocols are in place in the schools to ensure there is no outbreak and all that.”

Mr Bure’s comments reiterated what Education Minister Premila Kumar had said earlier this month that there was no “no jab, no school” policy.

Despite the assurances by both Mr Bure and Ms Kumar, the Safe School Reopening Guidelines, also issued earlier this month, said anyone above the age of 15 years had to be fully vaccinated before entering school premises.

The guideline called on secondary schools to ensure only fully vaccinated children were to be allowed into school premises when Year 12 and Year 13 students returned to classes from November 1.

“Vaccination cards for 15 years and above are to be checked, and entry is only allowed on the basis of being fully vaccinated,” the guideline said.

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