With a slowdown in the vaccination rate of children between the ages of 12 and 17 and the vaccination for younger children yet to begin, the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand made it clear today that unvaccinated children will not be blocked from attending classes.
Less than 30% of children between the ages of 12 and 17-years-old have been vaccinated, with thousands of parents deciding against having their children inoculated against COVID-19.
In a post on her Facebook page, Minister Manickchand said vaccination remains voluntary and children cannot be denied their education for not being vaccinated.
“From the beginning, we said that vaccination against COVID 19 of persons in this country would be purely voluntary. We went further and were very clear that children would not be denied their education because of a failure or refusal to take the vaccine”, Manickchand said.
Her statement came in response to reports coming out of Region Seven that unvaccinated students were being prevented from attending classes. The Minister said she has already reached out to the Education officials in that region to make clear the government policy.
“The children of Region 7 must be allowed back into school as were the children of the rest of the country. The Regional Education Officer has been so instructed and advised, and all stakeholders, and particularly the Regional Democratic Council, would be expected to do all that is possible to make this happen. We will continue to fiercely defend the right of children to education“, the Education Minister said.
Schools in Guyana were allowed to reopen their doors for face-to-face learning back in October as the government rolled out a vaccination campaign for students.
However, the Education Ministry allowed schools to set their own individual programmes for the return to in-person learning. Some high schools have continued virtual learning for students in the lower forms while allowing those in Forms 4 and 5 to return to the classrooms.
In the case of nursery and primary schools, many of them have put a rotation system in place for various classes to host in-person sessions.