With the announcement of schools reopening on August 10 concerns are mounting over whether Guatemalan students studying in Belize will be allowed to cross the border. According to Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, everything is dependent on the country’s Covid-19 regulations.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports: “How long the borders will remain closed is a question and will the borders be opened at the time of the reopening of schools when the children are to come on August 10th and if that is the case that the borders will be opened yes we have a plan for that and we will have to take precautions in those schools, we have to take precautions in terms of those students crossing the border on a daily basis. I am sure that the health authorities support the ministry in ensuring that that is the case because as I’m sure your concern is, this can cause cases to be imported in our schools. For those who say – this is a criticism that people have gone on with – “Oh why haven’t the schools opened back because the children aren’t the most susceptible to the virus.” well because the children go home to adult and if the children become carriers they go home and they take it to their families so we have to be very concerned about that and should that be the situation once school reopens on August 10th and children are allowed back into the country from across the border then precautions are in place to ensure that they are properly sanitized or we know what is happening in their home situation before they’re allowed back into the country.”
Minister Faber also spoke about the students that are stuck abroad due to COVID-19 and the stance taken by the ministry on this matter.
Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports: “I learnt of the situation with the students in Guyana over the weekend because somebody tagged me to a post or two. I have sent an inquiry to get some information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but having inquired on the part of other students who were in other areas I believe the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ position is what it announced that everybody who is seeking to be repatriated must apply and I believe that those students even in Guyana have applied and I am certain that consideration is given in terms of prioritizing their support for their repatriation. These persons who have come indicated that they were in some kind of situation whether medical or financially or in the case of the students in Guyana then there would have been some indication that there is some kind of political unrest or some kind of safety issue there and so I suspect that once I hear from CEO Anne today that will be the kind of response but I do promise to look into the matter more deeply today as soon as I get a chance to be freed up in terms of those students in Guyana but I know that other students in other areas providing that they’re not in danger of losing their scholarships I believe that’s the situation in Cuba where Cuba has said “Listen you could go home but if you go your scholarship might be in jeopardy.” and so the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended that we not support that kind of request for repatriation but apart from that the Ministry of Education stands ready to support students.”
While the ministry supports students returning home the Minister stated that he cannot promise them any financial assistance.