In the first two weeks since the reopening of schools, the Guyana Teachers Union has found that 320 teachers and more than 165 students have tested positive for COVID-19.
The GTU has renewed its call for all public schools to be closed for face-to-face learning for 14 days to allow the Ministry of Education to institute additional systems to ensure a safer reopening of schools.
The Ministry of Education continues to reject calls for a return to online learning, even as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge. There are over 10,000 active cases of the virus in the country with the majority of those persons isolated at home.
In a letter to the Chief Education Officer, the Guyana Teachers Union President, Mark Lyte said the situation can no longer be ignored.
He said approximately 152 schools have reported cases of teachers, learners, and support staff testing positive for the virus.
Mr. Lyte said the union is proposing that teachers engage learners virtually during the fourteen-day period while the Ministry of Education reassesses its face-to-face plan for learners during this pandemic.
“Presently, many schools have learners seated two in one bench. We believe keeping teachers and students out of crowded schools will help to reduce the present spike in covid positive cases in Guyana. The Ministry of Health has declared more than 1000 cases daily in the past week. The school environment has become unsafe for educators, learners, and school staff”, the union President said.
According to the GTU, learning cannot occur in an environment where there is trauma and fear and the union needs the Ministry of Education to begin acting responsibly.
The Education Ministry has not been backing down from its decision to reopen all schools in the country for full-time face-to-face learning at the same time that the country is witnessing the biggest spike in new COVID-19 cases.