More than 70 per cent of the teachers in public schools across Guyana have received their COVID-19 vaccines, according to the Minister of Education Priya Manickchand.
The Education Minister said this on Monday while responding to questions from the News Room during a media brunch at Cara Lodge, in Georgetown.
Ahead of the return to face-to-face classes either fully or through a rotational system, teachers have been encouraged to get vaccinated. Additionally, the gazetted COVID-19 regulations state that adults must be fully vaccinated before they are allowed to readily access most buildings.
And on Monday, Manickchand highlighted that the percentage of teachers vaccinated has increased from about 23 per cent in September to in the “high seventies” as of December.
She only provided a regional breakdown for Region Four (excluding Georgetown). In this region, 79 per cent of nursery school teachers have been vaccinated; some 79 per cent of primary school teachers are vaccinated and 71 per cent of secondary school teachers are vaccinated.
“That picture is the same or looks very similar along most coastland regions,” Manickchand stated, however.
In the regions which have low vaccination rates generally – that is, Regions Eight and 10 – there is a similar low vaccination rate among teachers.
Importantly, all secondary school children, except those in Form One (Grade Seven), are expected to return to face-to-face classes when the new school term begins on January 3. And the minister was asked if all those teachers are onboard with this.
To this end, Manickchand said that she expects a high turnout of both teachers and students. She, however, explained that teaching in a classroom is normal for teachers and that online teaching was an “abnormality”.
Additionally, she said that no student is being mandated to return to school. As explained previously, if parents opt to keep their children at home, they will be required to ensure that they are learning effectively. There will be no online classes, however, as teachers will be required to be in the physical classrooms.
The return to face-to-face classes has been seen as crucial since learning losses- including children dropping out from schools– have been recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic.