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Jan 5, 2022

The Debate Rages: Are Parents Prepared to Send Children to School?

A debate is raging on social media about whether or not parents are prepared to send their children back to school on January tenth. The Ministry of Education continues to review and has given the green light to a number of schools to reopen for the semester using a hybrid learning model – that’s where some classes are done in person on campus, while others are done online. But with the spiking COVID-19 cases, parents are sceptical about this approach.  News Five’s Duane Moody launched a Facebook poll this morning and gathered in-person perspectives in the following report.


Duane Moody

Duane Moody

“Schools are to reopen on January tenth to hybrid learning. But the million-dollar question is whether parents, given the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, are prepared to send their children back to school.”


Social media has been buzzing with activity as thousands have chimed in to give their perspective on the matter. A News Five poll reflects that the planned hybrid learning by the Ministry of Education has been polarizing, or getting mixed reviews. There are those who believe that the distance learning strategy has been working over the past few semesters and support letting this continue given the ongoing pandemic. But then there are those who do not have access to resources for online learning so they have been lost to the system. There are also those who want children back in the classrooms because it’s been two years since their little ones  have been away.


Dian Maheia, C.E.O., Ministry of Education

“We all know how serious the effects have been on our students being out of the classroom now for close to two years. And this is something we have been working toward; this is not a new decision, it is not a rash decision. It’s really been very careful and it’s taken a while for us to get to this point. Where we are now is moving to having our schools return for hybrid learning in January.”


And although the Ministry says it was not a rash decision, when News Five took to the streets in downtown Belize City, residents going about their daily routine had varied opinions about the reopening of schools. In the case of Krystyne Laing, the spiking active cases of COVID-19 has her rethinking her plan to send her children back to school in the next few days.


Khrystyne Laing

Khrystyne Laing, Parent

“To be honest I was ready, but with the cases going above right now weh ih deh, I noh think soh.”


Duane Moody

“Because you know dehn di try fi see how they could do hybrid learning, so yo send some to school and yo do some online.”


Khrystyne Laing

“Yes sir. School mi open already and I still neva send dehn, but I mi di contemplate this term. But with the cases rising, I don’t think so.”


Duane Moody

“So you would prefer that they just remain online?”


Khrystyne Laing

“Yes sir.”


Duane Moody

“Does it work for your kids?”


Khrystyne Laing

“It sure did.”


But while online learning worked for Laing and her family, Nicolee Flores says that it is different for her boys.


Nicolee Flores

Nicolee Flores, Parent

“I mi really want school open back to so the kids could get dehn education cause right now, the kids dehn just deh pan the streets just di play. O I agree with the online, but then majority of the kids are not being in the class due to online classes and due to the device and some of them noh have access to internet, different challenges. So I agree that the school should be open back but with precaution – with a lot of precaution for the kids especially.”


Kenisha Gomez, Teacher

“First and foremost, I am a teacher. I don’t have any kids, but I have siblings. Yes, I would send them because a lot of schools have gotten the green light so it is up to us as parents to start the precautionary measures from home and for the school to continue to instil it. So it can be safe if we all follow protocols because remember kids lead by examples so if we the teachers and we the parents set the right pace then definitely the kids can follow.”


Kenisha Gomez

Kenisha Gomez was among those who say that the mechanism must be tested.


Kenisha Gomez

“The only way you will know if the plan will work is if you put it to test so you have to try. We are saying distance learning, hybrid learning, but we won’t know if it works unless we put it to test.  So we have to try; that’s the only way we will know so I am okay with it.”


Ernest Neal

Ernest Neal, Parent

“You gotta be concerned because the kids are the number one, the kids are everything for us; we are more worried about the kids more than us, so you gotta be concerned. But at the same time, the kids are out of school too long. The kids need to be in school because the younger generation will be the future of tomorrow – those are the ones going to be the lawyer and the ministers so the kids need to be in school.”


Whether they feel prepared or not, the safety of children is the overarching principle for everyone.


Khrystyne Laing

“I always feel it is better being in the school, but right now, my kids life better off the way how it deh right now.”


Dian Maheia

Dian Maheia

“We recognised that there were instances of COVID in the schools. We recognised that based on those situations that we monitored, that the COVID cases seem to have originated mostly from outside the schools. And what we saw was that within the schools, procedures and protocols were being followed.”


Duane Moody for News Five.


Go to our Facebook page at News Five Live where you can join the debate and give your perspective on the reopening of schools.

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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