Students attending public schools in Grenada are attending classes without the physical distancing measures enforced by the island’s Ministry of Health.
“There is currently no evidence of the spread of COVID in the community in Grenada. We also have no clusters investigated. Under the current circumstances, the Ministry of Health is supporting the full reopening of schools,” said Dr. Shawn Charles, Acting Chief Medical Officer, during Tuesday’s weekly debriefing.
“We recognize that schools play a very important role in the development of children. The longer schools are closed, the greater the risk that the educational gains will be reversed and, of course, you limit the children’s development in terms of education and other things, ”said Dr. Charles, flanked by members of the National COVID-19 Response Committee.
“We know that the longer schools are closed, the greater the risk for our children. There will be a higher dropout rate, some children will just fall off the radar. We know that children left unsupervised at home are vulnerable and at increased risk of violence and exploitation, ”he added.
In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, the Department of Education took a blended approach to learning, with students being taught through an e-learning platform and limited face-to-face courses. For face-to-face sessions, schools had to adhere to ten feet of distancing measures, which resulted in students receiving two or three classes a week.
Dr. Charles said that traditional school attendance gives students the opportunity to access additional childcare services that will help their development and that attending classes online does not.
“We also have situations where having access to essential services like nutrition and vaccination, and the general support children receive from interacting with peers who support them emotionally, can contribute to their mental health. All of this is important and the longer it takes the school to reopen, the higher the risk they are, ”he said.
Some schools reopened on April 12, 2021 for the final semester of the year, while others will reopen on April 19.
Since the pandemic, Grenada has recorded 155 cases of the virus with one death. There are three active cases.