Samoan teachers warned they face the sack if they don't turn up

Teachers in Samoa have been warned to go to work this week, despite the extended school holiday, or face the sack.

Samoa's Government has announced a five-day school break for students beginning on Monday, to help control an influenza outbreak that began seven weeks ago and raise the measles vaccination rate.

The Government said it's a precautionary measure, in reponse to an escalating number of influenza cases which it has described as "alarming".

According to the Ministry of Health there have been 2,441 hospital admissions since the outbreak began with 70 of the cases classified as severe.

The director general of health said the number of people catching the flu has tripled this year.

Aiono Dr Alec Ekeroma said with the rising flu cases, the paediatric ward was running out of beds last week.

"There's also been an increase in the number of children seen in the pediatric outpatient clinics. Some days there were up to something like 200 children in the outpatient clinic."

The school break is being enforced from May 1-5, although teachers will continue to work under normal hours.

The Samoa Observer reports the CEO of the Ministry of Education, Sports, and Culture as saying teacher mistakes experienced in schools during the covid-19 lockdown will not be accepted.

A'eau Chris Hazelmen said during that lockdown many schools skipped important teaching tasks.

"I understand that many will agree with me on this one, that there were some schools which did their assignments during the lockdown but there were also many schools who did not do any assignments at all for seven weeks straight," he said.

A'eau said the Ministry is expecting teachers nationwide to be at full capacity on their assigned roles during the extended one-week holiday.

"We are teachers and we have a job to do but if you wish not to obey what the Ministry is requiring you to do as a teacher, then the Ministry will have to discuss your dismissal," he said.

A'eau also urged all parents to lend a hand and help the teachers and the Ministry by consistently collecting their children's hard copy assignments from the teachers at the schools.