-private schools must observe this mandate

-Education Minister

Minister of Education, Hon. Priya Manickchand says schools have only reopened for face-to-face interaction for Grades 10, 11 and 12 students and all private schools must observe this mandate.

The Minister made this statement amid claims of the unauthorised reopening of classrooms for other grades’ interaction at some private schools.

The Education Ministry and the Ministry of Health established guidelines for the reopening of schools for students scheduled to write the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination in 2021, and students in Technical and Vocational Education and Training and those enrolled in Practical Instruction Centres.

“Except for the levels that we have announced; fourth, fifth and sixth formers or Grades Ten, Eleven and Twelve, no school is allowed to reopen beyond those levels… At this stage, it is unsafe and unhealthy for those schools to reopened.”

The Minister said these regulations are guided by science and statistics and are imposed as a matter of public health security.

“I know a lot of private schools are claiming that they have the space to properly social distance and they have the means to make sure their students are wearing masks and washing their hands [but] we cannot allow private schools to do what public schools can’t do.

“We don’t have the ability to monitor that and the Ministry of Health at this point, is saying, that nothing more than that levels we opened already.”

After more than six months without engagement, a gazetted order paved the way for the Ministry to reopen schools for senior students on November 9, 2020.

The Government has also invested some $300 million into the education sector to ensure that the nation’s children remain engaged through distance learning with online platforms, television, radio and print packages.

This blended learning technique is expanded to students in nursery, primary and secondary schools.