KEY POINTS: Ministry of Education Media Conference February 15, 2022

Minister of Education Kay McConney and other officials addressed the nation on February 15, 2022 on the safe resumption of face-to-face classes.

Minister of Education Kay McConney

Meetings were held with stakeholders.
The Ministry has listened, heard and evaluated options.
The transition to face-to-face school may not be perfect.
Monitoring and observing will be done and adjustments made.
The size of classrooms and accommodating the three-foot rule varies.
Some repairs can be done without the disruption of classes, some have to be done with children away from the plant.
The Ministry has heard from those who are willing to start on February 21 and those who say they can’t.
Seven additional social workers for primary schools and seven more counsellors for the secondary school are on board.
There are six counsellors supported by the Sandy Lane Trust.
The Mental Health and Wellness Committee has met and will offer support.
Barbadian students are concerned that they have to write external exams alongside Caribbean colleagues who are back to school and are ahead.
Schools will reopen in a phased manner on February 21.

Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw. (GP)

Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, Chief Education Officer

Education Roadmap:

It describes our plans for the safe, effective and efficient reopening of schools
It sensitises all of our partners in education about the requirement for this safe return.
It identifies the roles and responsibility for key stakeholders to ensure the safe operation of schools during this pandemic.

Four main requirements for the reopening of schools

Distancing three feet apart. Students must follow the protocols.
All students required to wear masks at all times. Allowances will be made for mask breaks
Sanitising stations are a requirement.
Random COVID-19 testing for students will require parents’ consent and forms will be sent.

In the first phase, the most vulnerable are identified as those in:

Nursery, Reception, Infants A and Infants B.
Class 4 students need to make the transition to secondary.
First Formers need to experience the culture of the new school.
Fourth, Fifth and Six Formers have to do School Based Assessments.
Special needs children also need face-to-face interaction.

In the second Phase:

Those in Class 1, 2 and 3 at primary level
Second Form and Third Form students at the secondary level
The Ministry will also allow for flexibility, mixing face-to-face and online instruction.
There must be five days of face-to-face in a two-week period.
Schools will end at 2 p.m. There is flexibility to end earlier or later.
Principals will communicate this.
Parents also need to support the Ministry of Education.
If children are sick, do not send them to school.

Chief Medical Officer the Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George (GP)

Chief Medical Officer, The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George

The Ministry of Heath supports the phased approach to the return to schools.
Transmission of COVID-19 in schools is an unlikely event. It is more likely to occur in your homes.
Based on the protocols the Ministry believe schools are safe for learning.
Once the protocols are adhered to, there should be no mass spread of COVID.
If a child or teacher is ill, they should remain at home.
This is the greatest threat if sick people are allowed on plant.

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