Students in most parts of the Solomon Islands have started classes this week. High in the minds of education authorities is the need to maintain and practice COVID-19 safety measures.

St. Nicholas college in east Honiara has adopted stringent COVID-19 safety measures, and the school is adjusting to ensure that such measures are adhered to.

The new principal of St. Nicholas, Mr John Wesley Kumakana, told Solomon Times Online that apart from the school’s existing rules and regulations, the school administration board is making some adjustments.

“Since we are still in a State of Public Emergency (SOPE) measures like social distancing, hand washing, avoiding overcrowded classrooms, and others are still being encouraged.

“So, we decide to make some changes like reducing the number of students for each class and have introduced shifts in class times so that we can manage class size,” the school principal explained.

He says that such adjustments are necessary to ensure that mitigation measures are practised inside the school and becomes the new norm.

As of 25 January 2021, 17 imported COVID-19 cases have been confirmed by the Solomon Islands government and 10 have since recovered.

A recent positive test of a student who returned from the Philippines was found when a follow-up test was conducted while he was on holiday in Malaita The incident caused panic, but the Ministry of Health Emergency Operation acted swiftly to control and then contain it.

The student has since tested negative, with authorities stating that the initial positive result was in fact remnants of the virus as the student had tested positive while in quarantine.

To date there is still no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in the Solomon Islands.