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… GTU urges closure of all schools with dormitories
…as positive cases found at Bartica schools
Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand on Tuesday announced that the COVID-19 test results from the Upper Takutu – Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) have returned negative.
In a Facebook post, the Education Minister said the results were confirmed by the Regional Health Officer.
“Just got the very good news from the RHO that the results for all swabs for Region Nine are in and they are ALL negative,” she posted.
Rapid tests conducted on students previously showed some positive results. Regional health officials later retested the students and their results returned negative.
Minister Manickchand also disclosed that several persons in Bartica had tested positive for COVID-19 and were placed in isolation.
“Also learnt last evening that some five teachers, two ancillary staff and six students have thus far tested positive at Bartica (two schools). Each positive person is in isolation,” Manickchand said.
On Tuesday, the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) called for the closure of Bartica schools after staff, students test positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, the union said that it is deeply concerned about the situation in Bartica, where teachers and students at two main secondary schools have tested positive for the virus since the re-opening of school.
The Union said the schools in Bartica should be closed for a period of two weeks to allow for teachers and students to be quarantined and isolated from others, especially those residing in dorms.
“Equally, we urge that the same action be taken for schools for which dorms are attached where cases have been recorded. We believe this is the only way to curb the spread that is presently taking place among staff, students, and their families at these schools,” GTU iterated.
Further, the GTU has recommended that all classes be done virtually for the next two weeks to allow for schools to be thoroughly sanitized.
“…students who tested positive [should] be immediately removed from the school’s premises and placed at a holding center,” the union recommended while adding that all family members of students and staff should also be tested.
“In light of positive Coronavirus test results emerging from schools where students are kept in dorms, the Guyana Teachers’ Union calls on the Ministry of Education to close all schools with dorms,” GTU President Mark Lyte said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to him, while the Ministry offered the Union its assurance on October 5, 2020 that all students would be tested before entering dorms, it has failed to make good on its commitment.
“The failure on the part of MoE to test students before entering the dorms at President’s College and Bartica in particular have placed every student, teacher and their family at risk of becoming infested with the Coronavirus,” Lyte said.