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A few days ago marked one year for a number of important events in Guyana as follows:
- The World Health Organisation declaring COVID-19 a pandemic
- Guyana recording its first case of COVID-19.
iii. Schools were declared closed due to COVID-19.
- The institution of varying restrictions to curb COVID-19.
- The commencement of online classes for schools.
Over the course of the year, the Ministry of Education has done much to return to some semblance of continuity to the teaching and learning of the nation’s children. The successes of these interventions are self-evident. However, this is no reason for fist bumping, chest thumping or becoming lax. The job is not done. We are not out of the woods as yet. We still have to keep our guards up. The world is still in a pandemic. The present Brazil’s COVID crisis is a warning to the world that this virus is still wreaking havoc. This pandemic has blanketed and even humiliated countries with significantly greater resources than Guyana. In Guyana’s case, there continues to be daily infections, hospitalisations and deaths.
Thank God, several vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organisation in short order, Guyana has received several scores of thousands of doses of vaccines and hundreds of persons have already received the jab.
It is expected that with the efficacy of the vaccines and the continued observance of the COVID-19 protocols, schools will soon be able to return to normal. When that time comes, the Ministry of Education will undoubtedly role out its plans to compensate for the obvious learning losses. No doubt too, the School’s Welfare Department will have much work to do, including making contact with those school-aged children who dropped out of school.
In closing, it is hoped that the researchers at the University of Guyana will conduct longitudinal studies to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on children and education in Guyana.
Bernel L.H. Wickham.