While all schools across the country will reopen on the 6th of September, students attending Secondary schools will only return to the classroom for face-to-face learning based on the rollout of the vaccination programme.
The Government has started the vaccination against COVID-19 for children who are 12-years-old and older. There are 58,000 students who fall under that category with the Education Ministry receiving consent to vaccinate from the parents of 5000 of those children as of Thursday.
At a press conference this afternoon, Education Minister Priya Manickchand sought to explain the reasoning behind the decision to only allow face-to-face learning for Secondary school students based on their vaccinations.
“The school term begins on the 6th September but secondary schools will reopen as the vaccine rolls out. So even as you will hear about the individual plans for secondary schools, that will take effect only once the vaccine programme has been rolled out by the Ministry of Health that is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Education”, Manickchand said.
The majority of secondary schools are expected to reopen on a rotational basis with individual schools expected to set their own plan and system for face-to-face teaching. The Education Ministry has announced that at least seven schools will reopen fully for all grade levels.
Assistant Chief Education Officer for Secondary Schools, June Ann Gonsalves indicated that all plans for the reopening have taken the various health protocols into consideration for the safety of students and teachers and other staff members.
“For each of the secondary schools across the country, there are individual plans which were crafted by the school’s administration in collaboration with their PTA and the Regional Democratic Councils…at the Secondary level, two modalities will be utilized for the reopening of schools which vary across the country and across the regions based on the school’s location, capacity, enrollment and the number of teachers on the teaching staff”, Ms. Gonsalves said.
It was further explained that the Ministry of Education will release the full details on its website and social media pages on the various plans for the various schools.
At the primary level, while all schools will reopen their doors on the 6th September, only 40 of the more than 400 primary schools across the country will be fully open for face to face learning. The majority of primary schools will also have a rotational system in place.
Nursery schools are expected to follow a similar rotation system with shorter hours of interaction.
Chief Education Officer, Dr. Marcel Hudson said it is important for Guyana’s children to return to the classroom for face to face learning. He said there is great worry about the drop-out rate and the long term impact the continuous closure of schools could have on the students.
Parents are being encouraged to make contact with the schools for their children and the Parent Teachers Association for the details of the various plans for the individual schools.