New PMV guidelines affecting children: Teacher

COVID-19 regulations pertaining to public transportation have greatly affected the average Papua New Guinean.

An elementary school teacher in Lae stressed on the need for inclusive planning.

The second in charge at the United Church-run Emmanuel Elementary School would like to have all her students in class by 8am, but she is fully aware of the limitations placed on public transportation.

Assistant head teacher, Beverly Dago, voiced her concern on the strain placed on parents, seeing that as per the national emergency orders, passenger numbers are limited to 5 less than the vehicle's licensed capacity and as a result, bus fares have been increased.

This means that 25 seater PMVs will now only accept 15 passengers, while 15 seaters are only allowed 10 passengers.

“If the Government is trying to do that to everyone in this country, they have to step in and help the people and especially the children; they’re really affected,” she said.

“We really need to help our children because most of the decisions made are for the adults while we’re neglecting the children.”

The Emmanuel Elementary School resumed classes for its 300-plus students on Tuesday, May 5th. Classes have been divided with group A to start from 8am to 12pm while group B takes over from 12pm to 3pm.

While this is an effort to make sure students maintain social distancing, the assistant head teacher highlighted that this would be a difficult task considering their age.

“The next moment they’re already playing and hugging and we cannot stop them,” Dagua stated.

“That’s why we just control them, we only give them routines: ‘This is how you sit, this is how you go and wash your hands and this is how you come back and you do your lessons’.”

The elementary school teachers spent the better part of yesterday (May 6) morning telling students about COVID-19 and why there are changes around the school, for instance, the breaking up of classes and the need to regularly wash their hands using their newly-built, brightly painted hand basins.

(Assistant head teacher, Beverly Dago, instructing her students on where to sit)

Carmella Gware