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—classes to resume virtually from Monday
The Bishop’s High School on Friday closed its doors after several students and teachers contracted the dreaded Covid-19 disease.
Classes will resume virtually the school said. Earlier in the day the school had sent home staff and students early after a number of them fell ill. It later issued the notice to shut down the school.
In its first notice to parents seen by this newspaper the school noted; “Dear Parents, Good afternoon. As a result of numerous staff and students feeling unwell, the Administration and the Board of Governors of the Bishops’ High School, along with consultation with the Ministry of Education, have given permission for students and teachers to go home at their earliest convenience.”
Government is under pressure to close all public schools as Covid cases mount across the country. Only on Thursday the Ministry of Education confirmed that a student of the Anna Regina Multilateral School in Region Two tested positive for Covid-19.
Government on Monday reopened schools, however in a statement issued on Wednesday, the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) said positive cases have risen exponentially over these last three days in Guyana, especially with the reopening of schools for face-to-face engagement. “The Ministry of Education ignored their own (government) Gazette order for social distancing (6 feet apart) and large gatherings, which were recently issued for January 2022. Also, WHO’s advice to observe one (1) meter apart as acceptable social distance has been breached with two learners seated in a single bench about a meter long,” the GTU said.
According to the union, the most worrying is the number of schools that reported positive cases for teachers and students. “The numbers continue to climb in every education district in Guyana. The union’s datasheet shows that sixty-five (65) teachers, forty-four (44) learners have reportedly tested positive in two days of school. Also, fifteen schools were forced to close due to COVID 19 cases. However, some schools are operating despite reporting issues of COVID-19.”
As such the GTU is demanding that all schools be closed immediately so that the Ministry of Health can conduct a proper assessment before advising on the way forward. We are aware of the challenges presented by online learning and that reopening schools for face-to-face is our preferred option, but let us be mindful that we need a healthy nation to progress. The rate at which persons are getting sick due to COVID-19 infections has to be addressed now. The only way to preserve the lives of our children, teachers, and their families is to suspend all face-to-face engagements in schools. We depend on the Ministry of Health to tell Guyanese the truth so that we can all work to preserve lives,” the release stated.