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Jun 12, 2020

B.N.T.U. Expresses Concerns Regarding Reopening of Schools

Elena Smith

The Ministry of Education has tentatively set August tenth as the date when schools are expected to reopen. With the current school year coming to an end this month, Minister of Education Patrick Faber says that while date is earlier than previous years, it gives students and teachers an opportunity to catch up with their studies. On Monday, fourth form students, who will be sitting the CXC examinations in July, will return to the classrooms along with their teachers and counselors.  The Belize National Teachers Union today weighed in on the ministry’s decision and National President, Senator Elena Smith says that teachers have more than one concern. According to Smith, teachers are questioning whether schools are prepared with COVID-19 guidelines and preventative practices to allow them to do their job in a safe setting.


Senator Elena Smith, National President, B.N.T.U

“The ministry put together a survey that the schools should respond to and that survey when it is sent back would give an indication as to the readiness of these schools to reopen. So that survey looks at all of the various aspects of the schools, the water, the physical make out of the school and sanitary aspect of it. You know, having sanitizers, soap, the wash hand areas. All of those things, being able to put students in spaced out classrooms to meet the social distancing criteria. So all of those things would have been answered by the administration of these schools and would have been submitted to the ministry for review and then that would help to determine if these schools are ready or not. However am sure that those surveys have not yet been submitted and analyze but our secondary school teachers are now back to school on Monday with students. Who can assure me that those schools were sanitized before Monday? How can I be assured that the schools have sanitizers, they have soap, they have everything in place? Because I have not seen that. When I say I, I am referring to a teacher or a student. They have not seen those things. Nobody gave them a list to say this is what we have done so far and to prepare for Monday so when you come on Monday you are going to be safe.”

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