-Education Ministry ramps up measures

With schools scheduled to reopen on Monday, the Ministry of Education is ramping up efforts to ensure that all COVID-19 preventative measures are in place to keep the nation’s children safe.

Today, the Department of Public Information visited two city schools for a first-hand look at how the preventative measures have been implemented.

The Ministry has installed hand-washing stations near the entrance in both schools’ compounds and teachers and other staff were seen posting reminders of the guidelines at key locations.

Several of them told DPI that that their schools have adopted strict policies to safeguard students.news 20201109 6

One such measure is the placement of clear markings to ensure students are kept at least six feet apart and are wearing their masks at all times.

Both schools also said teachers and auxiliary staff are expected to remain vigilant, particularly during break periods.

Headmistress of Richard Ishmael Secondary School, Ms. Melanie Jones said steps are being taken to “limit the numbers [of students] and prevent overcrowding. We’re going to be very strict on that. The main priority would be supervision.”

Ms. Jones also said students will be cautioned not to flout the preventative measures.

Similarly, Queen’s College Headteacher, Ms. Jackie Ralph said all staff are working together to ensure the safest possible environment.

“In addition to that, we have our essential workers, our cleaning staff and they are working together with the security personnel to ensure that the students are tested and sanitised before they enter the building,” she said.

On October 31, Education Minister Hon. Priya Manickchand announced that schools will reopen for classroom instruction for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination and Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Institutions.news 20201109 7

Since then, there have been numerous multi-stakeholder engagements with the Ministry of Health, Health Ministry, regional education officials, the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU), parents, students and others.

Meetings were also held with the Guyana United Minibus Union, Guyana Police Force and Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce’s Consumer Affairs Department to develop a robust system to ensure the safe transport of students to and from school.

There will be police presence at transportation routes to prevent students gathering at bus parks, touting, and to ensure buses transporting students follow all protocols. While 50 per cent of the school buses in the system were found to be inoperable, Minister Manickchand committed to providing transportation for students based on the Ministry’s capacity.

To augment these efforts, on Wednesday, care packages for teachers, students and dormitory parents were dispatched countrywide. Those will be distributed to students on Monday.