Caribbean Nations Grappling with Reopening of Faculties On account of COVID

The government of St. Lucia announced that it will announce on Monday when schools on the island will reopen for the new school year after closing in March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Education Minister Dr. Gale Rigboert said she was aware that parents and the general public had great concern about the upcoming announcement.

“However, given the circumstances in which we are still dealing with COVID-19, we had to ensure that discussions were held with all major stakeholders and partners prior to making such statements.

“It is also advisable for us that the measures and protocols we have adopted ensure that the safety of our students, employees, caretakers and other people is of the utmost importance at all times as we continue to minimize the negative effects of COVID -19 as a country” , added her.

Rigobert will meet with Chief Education Officer Ms. Fiona Mayer, State Secretary Michelle Charles and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Meet Sharon Belmar George and later inform parents and the public of the proposed format for the new school year.

“As Minister of Education, I will also address the nation next week about the new school year and a number of other relevant developments in the education sector here in Sr. Lucia,” said Rigobert.

St. Lucia isn’t the only Caribbean country grappling with the situation of schools reopening after the virus.

Barbados Minister of Education, Technology and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, will meet with teachers next week for their contributions to the safe reopening of schools.

The meetings will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Bradshaw said he was aware of concerns about the schools reopening in September.

She said education officials had held talks with various stakeholders, including the unions, over the past few weeks.

In addition, Bradshaw said the department has also received input from directors and ministerial officials, “at the level of various subcommittees, and these discussions are ongoing.

“I believe they too must be given the opportunity to express their concerns directly and make recommendations as we attempt to collectively navigate these uncharted waters presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said of about the upcoming meeting with the teachers.

“After all, it is you who have to come into direct contact with our students. And as we continue to look at the unions, I think they also deserve the opportunity to have a forum to speak to me directly too. “

In the meantime, according to the Ministry of Health in Jamaica, the rise in COVID-19 cases has made it necessary to delay the reopening of schools.

“We consulted with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Subject to unforeseen challenges, the schools will gradually reopen from Monday, October 5th, 2020. “
The ministry said the reintegration is based on a blended approach that includes face-to-face teaching and learning, computer-based online and offline learning, television learning, and printed learning kits, among others.

“Between now and September, the department will finalize the distribution of tablets to primary school teachers and students and finalize the acquisition of laptops for students as part of the Health and Education Program in Grades 10-13. The department will also enable the Google Suite learning management system for all schools and provide training on how to use the system. “

Authorities said students, teachers and parents are receiving psychosocial support and empowerment sessions and printed learning kits are being distributed to students. Educational support programs are also expanding and new partnerships are being formed to support distance / distance learning, ”said the Ministry of Health.