Over 22 schools across Guyana closed after staff, children test positive for COVID
Since the reopening of primary and nursery schools in Guyana for face-to-face learning, over 22 schools have been closed due to teachers, pupils and other staff testing positive for COVID-19.
But the Education Minister Priya Manickchand believes that a lot of ‘panic closing’ was done – meaning that headteachers panicked and closed schools after someone tested positive.
Meanwhile, a re-evaluation of the situation has allowed for eight schools to be reopened on Tuesday, while five will be reopened on Wednesday.
“We have had more than 22 schools closed and some reopened, so there is a protocol that is put out and it is all based on science depending on who is positive and how engaged and how much they interacted and with who in terms of staff and parents that would determine what we do.
“Initially, there was a lot of panic closing that may not have been absolutely necessary so we are reevaluating and we don’t do that alone; we do that with the Ministry of Health and they advise what needs to be done in particular circumstances,” Manickchand said during an interview on Tuesday with the News Room.
While the minister revealed that pupils, teachers and other staff members would have tested positive, she could not provide a breakdown of the cases.
“We saw teachers who were positive, we saw cleaners who were positive, we saw students but we also saw students whose parents were positive,” the minister stated.
In order to contain the spread of the deadly virus and keep children safe, the minister said everyone must get vaccinated.
“We are one of the lucky countries in the world; we have a vaccine for every person who needs one so this thing can be fixed, it can be dealt with,” Minister Manickchand explained.
The minister said last week that healthcare kits will be provided to infected teachers and that each person is being supported throughout the processes of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.
Children who are infected will continue to be engaged through online learning and the use of worksheets.
Secondary schools in Guyana will only be reopened once everyone is fully vaccinated. Currently, the Pfizer COVID vaccine is being administered to children between the ages of 12 and 18.
Meanwhile, the high level of misinformation about the vaccines is prevalent in Guyana but Manickchand on Tuesday said the vaccine hesitancy is also coupled with political influences from the Opposition.
“In Guyana, we have had some political intervention that was not helpful at all from the opposition about person’s rights.”