Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the education authorities to seek the assistance of pediatricians to diagnose diseases and problems of children when re-opening the schools that have been closed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

He was addressing a discussion at Temple Trees on Friday (11) on the reopening of schools and the provision of Covid vaccine to teachers and students.

The Prime Minister pointed out the importance of reopening schools in several stages as soon as the Covid epidemic was brought under control. He pointed out that teachers can get the required vaccination through the Ministry of Health.

Representatives of the Association of Pediatric Specialists who participated in the discussion told the Prime Minister that their association could extend its support at the education zonal level to avoid problems arising during the reopening of schools.

Accordingly, the representatives of the association pointed out that they will formalize the relevant activities by nominating representatives for the 99 education zones in the island.

Prof. Kapila Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Education pointed out that if a vaccination program is implemented in connection with the resumption of schools, priority should be given to Grade 11 and Grade 13 students.

Prof. Kapila Perera also pointed out the importance of vaccinating nearly 300,000 people, including 270,000 teachers and non-academic staff, to make this task a success.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the government will always work to protect the future generations of the country as well as the teachers who guide them.

The Prime Minister said that a program should be formulated to bring back children and teachers to school in a safe manner at the commencement of schools. He called for special attention to be paid to the hygienic procedures to be followed in the transportation of school children.

Prof. GL Peiris, Minister of Education, Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Prime Minister, Prof. Kapila Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Education, LMD Dharmasena, Additional Secretary, School Affairs, Kamani Gunaratne, Director, School Health and Nutrition, and a group of doctors from the Association of Pediatricians were also present.