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…now saying secondary students must be fully vaccinated before return
The Ministry of Education has clarified that in order for students 12 years and older to return to schools they must be fully vaccinated with both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Following this, it was noted that each secondary school will be informed of their respective reopening dates.
“For an adolescent to be deemed fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine they must receive two doses 21 to 28 days apart with an additional seven to 14 days after the second dose to be fully protected. This would mean that the different secondary schools will return to face-to-face instruction on different dates,” the Ministry of Education said in a press release.
The example was given that students of Queen’s College, St. Rose’s High School and the Bishops’ High School were vaccinated on September 1, 2021, and were notified that September 28 is the date that their second dose will be administered. Therefore, it was explained that these schools will be reopened within seven to 14 days after the second dose is administered.
Meanwhile, the Ministry added: “Each secondary school will be informed of their respective reopening dates. As it relates to the other levels, the plans that were previously announced stand without variation. The school term starts on the 6th of September 2021. Where schools are not reopening for face-to-face instruction, they will be engaged online or otherwise. Parents are encouraged to visit the Ministry of Education’s website to see the reopening plan for the respective schools.”
Late last month, the public was made aware of the plans in place for each level of schooling for children in Guyana as the planned reopening to face-to-face learning at schools approaches.
Manickchand said that the reopening of schools may vary for schools and grade levels and while all schools will reopen on September 6, secondary schools will reopen as the vaccine rolls out to allow for students to be vaccinated.
“[The Ministry of Health is] uncomfortable with just opening the secondary schools’ doors without rolling this vaccination out, which is why our mandate at Education is not to just open up secondary schools, it is to open according to the vaccination plan, how that’s rolled out. I think that we can read that to mean that we expect that the children who will go into schools will access this vaccine and get it,” the Minister said.
On Monday, 41 of Guyana’s 348 nursery schools will open their doors to full face to face engagement for learners. The other 307 will operate on a rotation system which will see Year One and Year Two learners attending school on different days during the week. They will all meet no less than 2 hours per day or four hours per week. For primary schools, a total of 44 of the country’s primary schools will reopen fully based on the availability of space. Another 413 will operate on a rotational basis. Grade Six pupils, however, will attend school daily.
Seven secondary schools will be opened for all grade levels while the remaining 126 will operate on rotation. It was noted that it is compulsory for students from Grades 9-13 to attend sessions to ensure coverage of the examination curriculum, cover all SBAs and all necessary practicums. A consolidated curriculum and diagnostic assessment have been developed to help reintegrate students back into the physical classroom. For those eligible, the advice received from the Ministry of Health is that it is better to allow students to be vaccinated and be fully inoculated before returning to the school’s physical environment.
The MOE therefore urged: “We encourage as many parents as possible to consent for their children aged 12 to 17 to receive the vaccine which will serve to protect them from the effects of COVID-19. We also encourage our parents and teachers who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated so that we can all protect each other.” Already, over 200,000 have received the first jab of the Pfizer vaccine.