President Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday made it clear that public schools will reopen in September 2021, after more than a year of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with the News Room late Thursday, the Head of State said, “There’s no second guessing. Preparations are underway for schools to reopen in September.”
The President also pleaded with all teachers, administrative and support staff to get vaccinated before the reopening in an effort to protect children.
Additionally, the President further told the News Room that efforts are being made to secure vaccines so that children can also be vaccinated, possibly ahead of that September reopening of schools.
The government is currently in talks to secure the vaccine and Dr. Ali is confident the ongoing negotiations will be successful.
He said once Guyana secures those vaccines, each and every dose will go to Guyanese children.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event at State House, Dr. Ali said “We have to get back to school.”
He assured that systems were already being put in place to ensure that the reopening of schools is successful.
“Education is important and the medium to long term impact of COVID will be felt when we have an assessment of the impact on education… many countries are already giving frightening reports,” he said.
Dr. Ali also used the opportunity to commend health workers for their efforts in ensuring that the adult population is vaccinated.
To date only about 27 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated although more than 50 per cent have received the first dose of a COVID vaccine.
Dr. Ali said more can be done in this regard even as he considers proposals for strict measures to be imposed against unvaccinated persons.
Only last week Education Minister, Priya Manickchand said the goal for the reopening of schools remains September 2021 once it is safe to do so. “The longer we stay home, the longer we keep school closed, the longer we will have to catch up [with] work and the more difficult it will be.
“We have to open school as early as we can, as safely as we can. There isn’t a reason we can’t go back to school in September,” Manickchand told the News Room.
She assured that the reopening of schools will be done to ensure the safety of children amid a call for all adults to be vaccinated.