Classroom attendance ‘optional’

While schools will be resuming next week, it is up to parents to decide whether to let their children attend.

When giving a rundown on the relaxation of certain SOE restrictions, Controller David Manning said tertiary institutions have recommenced this week while secondary and primary schools are set to start next week.

“However, if I can remind all parents and guardians, that this is optional – to either allow your children or those under your care to attend classes as of next week Monday,” Manning stated.

“Let me again remind you all that COVID-19 is here to stay. To stop it from spreading, it will not kill you to follow simple health measures.”

Apart from the resumption of classes, Manning said as of 6pm on Friday, the 24th of April, flight restrictions into and out of East New Britain were lifted while the port of Rabaul was reopened as a designated shipping port.

“In NCD, public transport was reopened,” he continued. “Operators have been encouraged to practice hygiene measures of regular sanitising or swabbing of seats and social distancing. Especially on the 25-seater buses where we have insisted, under the COVID-19 protocols, a reduction of the number of passengers to 15, with all other transport vessels or vehicles to adjust their carrying capacity less five.”

The Controller said taxis are permitted to carry two passengers and in NCD, they are permitted to operate up until the current curfew times of 10pm to 5am. These curfew times also apply to Central Province.

“Flight approvals for travel within and between non-restricted provinces continue to be maintained and facilitated by airline operators,” Manning said.

“Restaurants have been opened with social distancing measures and hand sanitisers for patrons and other COVID-19 protocols to be put in place before opening. Places of worship, for our local services have been permitted again, with strict adherence or observance of hygiene protocols to be put in place.”

On the other hand, national and provincial religious gatherings, including crusades and conventions, are not permitted at this time.

Carmella Gware