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Jan 17, 2022

Education Minister: No COVID Originating at Schools

Since the reopening of schools last Monday, there have been reports of COVID clusters among teachers of at least one school, and reports of other cases have caused more concerns over whether the reopening of schools was a good decision. But Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca told News Five that with all precautionary measures in place, schools will remain open. In fact, the Minister shared that the majority of schools had applied to reopen.


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education

“There’s a very rigorous process that has to be followed. There’s a very lengthy checklist that has to be approved by the Ministry of Education. We have about six hundred and five schools in our country. Five hundred and seventy of those schools have applied for a return of some form of hybrid learning. We’ve approved – I think close to four hundred have been given formal approval by the Ministry and I think we have, as of this week, about three hundred and fifty of those schools that have actually returned to the classroom. So it’s a rigorous process. We understand fully and appreciate the concerns of our parents, of our students, of families, but we are absolutely satisfied that we have in place a structure that will ensure, as best as possible, the safety of our students, our teachers, our administrators. Obviously there’s no foolproof system wherever we go. Wherever you are, there is the possibility that you might get COVID. That’s true, so what we’re asking is that everyone does their part. The only way this will be successful is if we follow the guidelines, we follow the protocols, when students are at school we have these guidelines: wash your hands, watch your distance, sanitize, space, those things are important. And as we keep saying, if children have any signs, any flu-like symptoms at all, any of those symptoms, keep your children at home. So parents also have a responsibility. But what is important, let me say this, what is important is that the first week of school there are no cases that have originated – there’s no evidence of any cases having originated in schools. Yes, students have gotten COVID and some teachers have gotten COVID, but all of the contact tracing has established that they contracted COVID outside of the school environment. That doesn’t mean that that will remain that way moving forward. But that’s an important point to make. As well, it’s critically important. Our students have been out of the classroom now for almost two years and we have seen, based on our analysis, based on our studies, the negative impact that that has had on them academically, socially, and emotionally.  Their social and psychological development has been impacted tremendously.”

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