Vice President and Justice Minister J. Uduch Sengebau Senior said COVID-19 has “greatly affected women and children in Palau,” including losing income from the impact of the pandemic on the tourism-dependent nation.
She told Pacific journalists during the Pacific Women Masterclass held on February 10th that several women in both the government and private sectors have lost their income by this pandemic, but “most especially the ones who have been affected are the ones who are relying on a day-to-day subsistence economy”. But there’s been assistance from the government of $200 to help those who lost their income due to being tested positive, she said. ”You’d be able to go and claim, if you tested positive and had to be quarantined or isolated for 10 days or for some period of time,” Senior said.
The Vice President also supported the reopening of classes and helping students get back on track with their academic progress. Most schools in Palau reopened yesterday, February 14th, VP noted that she was disappointed that a couple of private schools, including the one her children attend, will remain closed for another two weeks. “Although some students and parents still feel apprehensive, the Minister of Education has said we going forward with the opening of schools”.
She assured the community though that government is prioritizing the safe reopening of schools. She said most school principals made necessary arrangements for schools to be able to resume safely for students and made it possible to practice preventive measures while learning continues.
VP said arrangements were made for “social distancing inside the classrooms, children required to wear masks, and breakfast and lunches that are provided will be done on a staggered hour, or class by class management”.
She said that she is also confident that students can go back to school safely with Palau administering an additional 5,000 vaccination shots and boosters. With Palau’s population being at a good level of vaccination, she said “we’ll be able to go back to schools”.