Meanwhile, the Belize Association of Principals of Secondary Schools (BAPSS) is joining the efforts to get youth ages 12 to 17 vaccinated. In a press release issued today, BAPSS announced that it is partnering with the ministries of Education and Health and Wellness to support vaccination days at high school campuses and community centers countrywide. Chair of BAPSS Heidi Curry recognizes that vaccinating students is an important measure, which can lead to a return to face-to-face classes in a careful, gradual way.
Heidi Curry, Chair, BAPSS: “Education about vaccination is so important. There’s a lot of misinformation moving around and so schools are acting as a source of accurate information answering questions. We’re not medical experts and we don’t pretend to be medical experts but we share the information that is shared by the medical experts and we offer our support in terms of the locations in many cases vaccinations are happening at high schools or in some cases in locations within the community or maybe a nearby campus and so one of the important measures is that those days are non school days so the focus in on the vaccination. Also with the encouragement to have recovery day after the vaccination and to just help students know that they can find the information that they need and get the support that they need so that if they choose to get vaccinated they’re able to do so.”
Reporter: And the members of BAPSS they’ve been fully vaccinated
Heidi Curry, Chair, BAPSS: “That is – many members have been vaccinated. I don’t have a percentage on which members have been vaccinated but I know that many principals are really in support of doing whatever we can to try to fight this virus.”
Reporter: Do you find cases whereby students don’t want to get vaccinated or is it that you find cases where parents influence their children not to get vaccinated ?
Heidi Curry, Chair, BAPSS: “Absolutely. So it is a choice and it’s important for student and parent to learn the facts and to make that choice. And so one of the things we’re seeing is that a lot of times someone doesn’t want to be the first one in line so they want to wait and see how it goes with some of their classmates. Sadly sometimes families lose a loved one to COVID and sometimes that is then encouraging those students and parents to want to get vaccinated. So there are ae lot of different opinions out there and those are all valid opinion and so our job is just to educate and support and promote our fight against this virus.”
According to Curry, it is the opinion of the BAPSS that many students across the country are in need of face-to-face classes to learn successfully, to develop socially, and for their mental health and wellness.
Heidi Curry, Chair, BAPSS: “As a principals association we are collecting videos from students and parents and teachers and administrators where they will give their reason why they chose to get vaccinated and we know it’s a choice and we want people to be able to hear why others are choosing to be vaccinated.”
Reporter: Has BAPSS identified a possible challenge ?
Heidi Curry, Chair, BAPSS: “I don’t know about a possible challenge except as I said just helping to spread the knowledge. One area that we believe will help is to have the vaccination sites be at a familiar and local location so you know especially in rural communities it’s a challenge to get students to board a bus to then come to a campus and so it is a matter of resources and health personnel but that’s one of the challengers or one of the recommendations that we have made is that a much as possible keeping it in a familiar place will be helpful.”
Reporter: What about high schools in rural communities ? How is BAPSS dealing with that?
Heidi Curry, Chair, BAPSS: “So it has been a bigger challenge and that’s one of the reasons why we’re approaching that magic date of October 4th where that has been the goal of can we get those COVID numbers down, can we increase the vaccination rates because we really want to have our students on campus and they need to be on campus. And so yes the rural areas can pose a more additional challenges one is just the spread of accurate information and access to information and then just being able to have a location that is familiar and close and easy to get to to be able to access the vaccination.”