Last Updated on Monday, 23 August 2021, 21:04 by Denis Chabrol
The Ministry of Education on Monday night urged teachers to be vaccinated to avoid dying, falling seriously ill or spreading the coronavirus, COVID-19, but they have the option submitting a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
“Teachers who do not wish to be administered any of the above-mentioned vaccines will be required to submit a negative PCR test once a week. This test is to be done at an approved private facility,” the Ministry of Education said in a statement.
The Ministry of Education warned that teachers “who do not report for duty will be marked absent.” Also expected to obey the new measures, which would be published in the Official Gazette for September, are ancillary staff of each school (cleaners, administrative and other support staff).
Teachers, who have questions about the vaccines, are are being advised to contact the following doctors: 650 – 2289 (Dr. Farah December), 650 – 2308 (Dr. Oneka Scott) and 650 – 2312 (Dr. Ertenisa Hamilton). “This is to provide
teachers with an opportunity to speak with medical professionals and have their concerns addressed,” the Ministry of Education added.
The Education Ministry plans to reopen schools to face-to-face in-person classes on September 6 on the grounds that parents are urging this to be done and teachers have also expressed concern that virtual teaching-learning is dubious.
It is unclear whether nursery schools would be reopened for the new school year because the Ministry of Health earlier Monday said the Pfizer vaccines could be used to immunise children between the ages of 12 to 17.
Earlier Monday, the Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony said students would be provided with masks. “We have had joint meetings between the technical staff here and their staff of the Ministry of Education and some of the advice that we have given relates to masking. So, students returning to school should have a mask on, they should also keep their distance and we also have advice, since vaccines are going to be available, that children, going back to school should be fully vaccinated,” he said.
The Ministry of Education said it would provide to all teachers face masks, face shields, sanitizing agents (environ) and spray bottles to assist in ensuring they are safe upon their return to the classroom.
Also, the Education Ministry reported that the reopening of schools would not be the same for every school. Based on the space and circumstances at each school individualized measures will be applied to ensure the safety of all.
“Schools will be ready for reopening and parents along with teachers will be informed of the individualized reopening measures for the respective schools in the coming days,” the Ministry added.