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Jun 9, 2020

Health Perspective on Reopening of Schools

Marvin Manzanero

Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero was asked for his expert opinion on the opening of schools. He says that while the world is experiencing a pandemic, education must continue. Today, he shared why he believes Belize should do it earlier than August. Here is how he explains it.


Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“We have to understand that there are new conditions, as you will, under which we will have to carry on. Vaccines may not be available until the next eighteen months for a context like ours. I mean, school has to open. We have to take the necessary precautions. We have to look at the hand-washing technique even if that gives you an opportunity maybe for the children to learn to wash their hands; learn to be disciplined in terms of wearing a face shield, a mask, whatever it is they are going to do; the physical /social distancing – the school might give you the opportunity then to ensure that we become, if we are not a disciplined society to make sure that those things are carried through on a daily basis. We did indicate to Ministry of Education that one of the key potential situations is that maybe schools should re-open sooner because we still think at the ministry that you are gonna have a second wave once you have exposure to outside but also understanding that a flu season routinely happens towards the end of the year and remember if you have flu and COVID-19 going around and you may not be able to make that differentiation if you have a vast amount of cases. In terms of those students from across the borders who attend classes over here, what is your advice to our Ministry of Education how we treat those students once school reopens? I don’t know what the Ministry of Education has decided in terms of that, but I don’t see that it will be any different for persons coming from Guatemala. I mean from now until school opens is seven weeks and things could change but if you ask me right now it doesn’t seem there would be a condition for the people who come from across the border to come into Belize and go back out. Sometimes I know in Benque people who come across the border on a daily basis and go back out and sometimes in Benque they go back for lunch and come back so that is an added risk. So, for right now it doesn’t seem like that is something that can work out and we have to find a mechanism of how that will happen.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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