Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, has announced that depending on the comprehensive rollout of COVID-19 vaccines done by the Ministry of Health this month, schools are likely to reopen shortly after the Easter holiday.
The Minister said that research suggests the longer schools remain closed, there will be more disadvantages to children.
“The more students are likely to drop out, the more students are likely to suffer from learning loss or severe learning loss. So, the recommendation is, as quickly as we can, we go back into the classrooms for all levels,” she said.
While noting that the Ministry’s duty is to keep its students, teachers and their families safe, the Minister explained that the Ministry has been making efforts to keep students engaged in untraditional ways.
“We employed a series of different means to engage out students. The Learning Channel was refashioned to deliver education in a scheduled, timetabled way that matches the curriculum.
“We continue to deliver education on the radio; we have crafted and created worksheets that are specific and follow the curriculum and are defined by week in every subject.
“So we send out work sheets that the students would have been learning in the classroom had they been engaged face-to-face and those facts and notes are accompanied by lessons and activities that try to reinforce that learning,” the Minister explained.
The Minister further explained that many schools have adopted a blended approach, that is, they conduct some amount of academic work online whilst conducting face-to-face interaction for practical subjects.
“Some schools have gone back out fully; some have really avoided going back out. So, we left it up to the schools and their PTAs to determine what would be best for each individual school,” Manickchand said.
Manickchand continued that while the Ministry has its plans to reopen school, the decision is solely dependent on the Ministry of Health’s directives and the comprehensive rollout vaccine programme as they have been advising the Ministry of Education on how to go about delivering education.
Additionally, she encouraged teachers to continue engaging students virtually via the various means they have been utilizing while encouraging parents to continue rendering their support as she understands that it is difficult.
Meanwhile, schools will remain closed for the month of March with the exception of Grades 10, 11 and 12.
Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony announced on Monday that the first of 20,000 of the Sinopharm vaccine will arrive on Tuesday from China.
By March 8, 2021 Guyana will receive another 80,000 doses of the Oxford – AstraZeneca vaccines from India, the Minister also announced.
But there is more; before the end of March, Guyana will also receive some 100,000 doses through the COVAX facility with the World Health Organization (WHO) approving the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Guyana is also set to receive another 149,000 through the CARICOM/ African Union agreement. Dr. Anthony did not announce when this batch will arrive.