By Kurt Campbell
One week after the Ministry of Education reopened schools for students preparing for examinations across grades 10, 11, and 12, it is reporting that 21 of those returning students have tested positive for COVID-19.
The new cases include a male and female from the Anna Regina Multilateral School in Region Two. All positive students remain in the care of the Ministry of Education and are being isolated accordingly.
A breakdown of the cases among the returning student population across the 10 administrative regions show that there is one case in Region One, two cases are recorded in Region Two, eight cases in Region Four, one case in Region Six, two cases in Region Seven, seven cases in Region Eigh.
There are no cases in Regions Three, Five, Nine and Ten among students who have returned to school.
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand explained that in Region Nine, initially some 16 positive results were returned for students after rapid tests were administered. She said the students, some of whom were believed to have had the virus, were all swabbed as second time along with several others and no positive tests results were returned with four results still outstanding.
The reopening of schools on November 9 allowed for some 21,000 students from the selected grades along with Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) students to return to the classroom for face to face learning.
Minister Manickchand told the News Room by phone on Sunday that statistics from all 10 regions show that on the first day, the turnout was just below 60 per cent with increases recorded over the next four days.
The Minister was keen to point out that persons criticising the decision to reopen schools must understand that the positive COVID -19 results among students show that they returned to school from home with COVID-19 and they did not contract it at school.
“Similarly, if we did not test them, then we would not have known… I think the important thing is that we do the test, we share the information because it’s no secret and we follow the safety processes,” she added.
According to Manickchand, the positive cases among students is not surprising, considering the number of them tested.
“Once you test a large enough number of persons, you will find those who are positive…these numbers shouldn’t have you screaming… it is a reflection of what is happening in the society and across the world,” she added.
Minister Manickchand said Guyanese have good examples right here of how responsible behaviour can cause some good results.
“Region Nine a few weeks ago had 370 and now they have zero.”