In a statement, the high commission said it wants to try and minimize any negative impact of the lockdown on their students’ studies and their overall wellbeing.
A total of 84 Samoan students are registered at the two main universities – University of the South Pacific and Fiji National University.
Fiji has seen a resurgence in COVID-19 cases after 364 days since the last case was recorded in the community on 18 April 2020.
Fiji confirmed its first community case this year as a result of a breach in protocol at a Nadi quarantine facility.
This has resulted in the closure of all schools in Fiji including tertiary institutions from 21 April 2021.
The Fiji Government is working overtime to contain the outbreak in the main island of Viti Levu and has established 6 major lockdown containment areas, including Suva.
The Samoa High Commission said there is regular contact with the students via the email and messenger platforms to draw to their attention pertinent information and developments that they must be made aware of, based on official Fiji Government Press Releases, offer of some parental advice, words of encouragement and a reminder to obey and comply with the lockdown requirements in place for Suva, for their own wellbeing and safety especially during this challenging period.
The High Commission is also working closely with the USP and FNU management so that any decisions taken that have a bearing on their students’ studies and time in Fiji are shared with the students promptly.
Both universities have recently approved a number of measures to allow for the continuity of quality learning and teaching for all students, and to ensure they are adequately supported.
The COVID-19 health restrictions are also being strictly observed inside the campuses such as wearing mask, social distancing, no-gathering policy and the mandatory download of the COVID-19 Fiji Care app to help with contact tracing.
“The USP and FNU have placed the welfare and safety of regional students as a top priority during this lockdown period. As of now, there are no reports of any of our students been found or suspected to have the COVID-19 virus in this latest outbreak.”
University of the South Pacific (USP)
USP was on extended mid-semester break of 3 weeks and only resumed classes remotely (online), Monday, 10 May 2021.
The University has implemented other support programmes to be delivered online such as access to library materials, personal counselling as well as careers and entrepreneurship sessions.
The University is undertaking discussions on its contingency plan should the lockdown continue to be extended and affect the rest of the semester.
All USP Fiji campuses will continue to close during the lockdown to visitors except for essential staff and on-campus students.
Off-campus regional students are allowed to enter the campuses only if they need to visit the USP Medical Centre during week days.
Fiji National University (FNU)
Following the 22 April 2021 announcement of the suspension of face-to-face teaching and instructions, the FNU commenced the delivery of courses and assessment online from 26 April 2021.
All Post Graduate Regional students at the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences were also directed not to attend to clinical trainings and practical at the CWM Hospital.
The University has not yet revealed its contingency plan should the lockdown continue to prolong.
The Samoa High Commission has assured parents and families of Samoan students that the office is working collaboratively with the Fiji Government, the USP and FNU management teams to ensure that the students are safe and looked after well.
“But even with the best of effort and genuine intentions and our part, we can only do so much given the constraints imposed by the COVID-19 protocols currently in place which we must fully respect, support and adhere to.”
Photo file Samoa High Commission Caption: Samoa High Commissioner to Fiji Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia meets Samoan students in Suva last month (17 April)