Ministry of Education and Training in conjunction with the Ministry of Health Media Release

Temporary Closure of all Government Primary Schools of Tonga

Wednesday 13th November 2019, Office of the Ministry of Education and Training, Nuku’alofa, Tonga

The Ministry of Education and Training, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, would like to announce a temporary closure of ALL government primary schools from Thursday 14th Nov to Monday 25th November 2019. The closure of all primary schools is to further contain the outbreak of measles, which is more likely to happen when children are gathering together in large numbers, as in schools. The primary schools will resume from 25th November to enable them to provide students’ academic reports and conduct their prize giving ceremonies. The closure date can be extended pending advice from Ministry of Health.

The high schools will continue to operate as the Ministry of Health vaccinate the students starting from Form 1 to Form 4 and continuing to Form 5 to 7 when their exams are completed by Monday 18th November.

The Non-government schools were consulted and have been informed of the Government’s intent, and supported the measures recommended by Ministry of Health and will issue their own communication folio for their schools.

We support the recommendations from the Ministry of Health to take precautionary measures to minimize the spread of measles amongst our students. Whilst the parents, teachers and the public should not be unduly alarmed, we urge you all to treat these measures with a degree of seriousness. We ask you to support us in our efforts to contain this measles outbreak given this measles outbreak, given that there have been fatal incidences in our neighboring countries. I think the Ministry of Health and Education for the their collaborative initiative to address this measles outbreak and I persuade the public to support these mitigating measures’ said the Minister of Education and Training, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni.

Parents are advised to keep their children at home during this temporary closure of schools to limit their contact with other children who maybe infected. During this temporary closure students are asked not to return to the outer islands yet as they may be spread of this measles outbreak.

For further enquiries due to school management issues should be directed to the Ministry of Education and Training on phone 23511.

For health concerns, please contact the Ministry of Health: Dr Joseph Takai Phone: 8880495 or 7709537 and Dr Louise Fonua Phone: 7779822.

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