By Isanella Patoir
With over 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Rosa, Moruca, Region One, National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) students still have to sit the exams on Wednesday and Thursday.
Santa Rosa is now the new epicenter for the new Coronavirus outbreak in Guyana.
Students in Santa Rosa have not been attending classes to prepare for NGSA as teachers tested positive as soon as schools re-opened early in June.
Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Education, Brushell Blackman told the News Room that it is unfortunate that so many teachers tested positive in Santa Rosa but teachers are not required to be in the school for the exams and as such, “the examinations are going ahead as planned as guided by the examinations order which was published and gazette.”
Two NGSA students in Lethem, Region Nine who tested positive last week will be allowed to do the Ministry’s placement exam which basically means that students will be placed at a secondary school closest to where they reside and then write a placement exam a year later.
Executive Director for the Amerindian People’s Association, Jean LaRose told the News Room Tuesday that hinterland students are not prepared for the exam, especially those in Santa Rosa.
“Our concerns have been both for the physical and mental wellbeing of the children and one of our concerns has been the unpreparedness of the children because of the lack of support to the communities to prepare them,” LaRose said.
“I don’t think the children are prepared enough,” La Rose stated.
LaRose explained that the APA had also written the National COVID-19 Task Force to increase testing in Santa Rosa when there were only three confirmed cases.
“Almost three weeks after then we saw them taking steps to do things in the community,” LaRose said.
Santa Rosa is the largest Amerindian settlement in the country but with the slow pace of response to the community there is now a high increase of positive cases.
Added to this, Santa Rosa Toshoa Waunita Phillips had told the News Room that the residents were not adhering to the COVID-19 curfew and other measures in place.
Santa Rosa reported its first COVID-19 case on May 25 – 59-year-old Vincent Torres had visited Georgetown shortly before his death where he is believed to have contracted the disease.
With limited isolation facilities, the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) installed a number of COVID-19 isolation tents at the Sheba Ground in Moruca.
Isolation facilities were previously set up at the Amerindian Hostel, the Regional Education Officer’s residence and the Acquero Guesthouse.