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Posted: Monday 5 September, 2022 at 7:19 PM

Shift in COVID policy within schools

By: Staff Reporter,

    …Hanley says thanks to teacher


    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AS the COVID-19 pandemic shifts to be endemic and territories across the region begin to live with it, the education sector within the Federation is also taking that approach as restrictions are no longer mandated.


    Since taking office, Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew lifted the restrictions to enter the country as it was believed to be a hindrance to tourists’ arrival.


    Now,  Education Minister Dr. Geoffrey Hanley is reminding students, parents and teachers that mask wearing within enclosed spaces is “optional”. 


    In his address last evening (Sept. 4), ahead of today’s reopening of schools, the Minister thanked the teachers for the work they put in over the last two years during the pandemic, despite the challenges they faced personally.


    “Despite having to endure school closures, the shift system and hybrid classes last school year, our teachers and students remained resilient, determined to finish the year strong and that they did. On behalf of the Ministry of Education, I would like to thank all of our teachers who throughout the pandemic rose to the mammoth task before them, skillfully navigated unchartered waters and worked tirelessly to bridge the learning gap experienced by the nation’s children, thereby keeping them on target to meet their educational goals,” noted Hanley.


    He acknowledged that while the effects of the pandemic are still facing the country, the nation is slowly moving to “the two endemic stages which have led to the updating of the Covid-19 protocols at our schools”. 


    It is against that backdrop that: “1. All persons seeking access to our educational institutions MUST sanitize their hands upon entry. 2. The wearing of a mask is now OPTIONAL but strongly encouraged in enclosed spaces.  3. To avoid the spread of Covid-19, students and teachers who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should seek the help of a medical professional prior to their return to campus. This can help limit the number of interruptions in teaching and learning.”


    The Federation is the last of the territories within the region to remove some of the COVID restrictions and protocols. 


    Since the start of the pandemic, the education sector was one of the hardest hit, with the former Dr. Timothy Harris-led Administration being forced to lay the groundwork for online learning. 


    Students had reportedly struggled with the measure and some of them had skipped sessions in the early days, and did not submit work for grading.


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