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Though it was previously announced that Guyana will reopen schools in September 2021, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand said on Monday that whether or not this occurs as plan will depend on the decision of the Ministry of Health.
In May, Manickchand announced that based on advice from the Minister of Health, Guyana may likely be in a state of relative normalcy by the month of September due to its ongoing vaccination campaign. Until then, she noted that schools would remain closed for the rest of the academic year except for Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Form students.
During an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Monday, the Education Minister said that, ultimately, it is the Health Ministry which will make the decision.
“Whether schools are reopened will have nothing to do with us. It’s all about the Ministry of Health and what they’re advice to us is and so far it has been that we must keep the schools closed except for the levels that we let out,” Minister Manickchand explained.
She said the Government is thankful that since Grades 10 to 13 have been permitted to attend school in-person commencing in October 2020, there has been no massive community spread of the virus. The National Grade Six Assessment (NGSA) mock exams One and Two were also permitted to be written recently at schools in-person while the official examination will be written on August 4 and 5, 2021 in schools.
When the decision is made to reopen schools again, the Ministry of Education will work to ensure that schools are physically ready to accommodate students by being cleaned and furnished.
“We are trying to do what the Ministry of Health tells us is safe to do right now. So, at any point that you hear schools reopen or doesn’t reopen will not be Education and that’s not us passing the buck, it’s just where we are in the world,” Manickchand added.
On the other hand, the Minister stressed that if parents and teachers want to ensure that children can soon return to schools without fear of dire consequences, they must take on the responsibility of ensuring that they are vaccinated towards Guyana achieving herd immunity.