The Ministry of Education issued a release this morning giving the green light to every school across the country to fully resume with face to face classes. The ministry, however, is not making a full reopening mandatory at this time, but does say that a full reopening must occur by the new academic year in August. Additionally, the Ministry of Education is advising schools to have students and teachers continue with mask-wearing in in-door spaces like the classrooms and labs. Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Education, Diane Maheia says that the health measures have proven to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus.
Diane Maheia, CEO, Ministry of Education: “From the beginning, we have said that we will be guided by the public health officials in whatever decisions are made concerning the return to the classroom for our students and for our teachers, for the entire education community and so we approach this new milestone in much the same way as we have done before. We consulted with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to get their feedback. We have been looking, also, at what’s been happening in other countries where mask mandates have been lifted and restrictions have been eased, that sort of thing. We do believe that a large measure of the success that we’ve have had in sort of mitigating the effects of COVID so far really has come from keeping the mask mandate and keeping the hand washing and the sanitising protocols, the request to monitor for symptoms and keep those who are not feeling well at home. We think that’s been a large part in helping us to manage to get everyone back to school safely. So we absolutely acknowledge the new SI that’s being passed now and we are really happy that what we see is our public health officials are saying that right now our COVID numbers are such that we can ease the restrictions. That’s a wonderful thing. Just for our continued health and safety, because we have been really measured in our response. We’re just going to continue to be measured and what we’re saying is that we’re recommending that schools continue as they have been doing. That’s essentially it. You know, we came to the decision through consultation with the Ministry of Health & Wellness. We have remained in touch with the schools, trying to monitor what’s been happening there and we feel like this is a good way for us to move forward where schools can continue to recommend that while indoors, for example, that students and teachers will continue to wear their masks and even more than that, that they continue with their hand washing protocols, their sanitising and monitoring for cold and flu like symptoms, this is something that’s now almost second nature to us, you know, after the past two years.”
As the new academic year is still some four and a half months away, CEO Maheia told Love News that the ministry has observed a substantial increase in students not attending school for face to face learning. She says it is believed that the primary reason for this is the fall in Covid-19 infections.
Diane Maheia, CEO, Ministry of Education: “As reflected across the country, the reported cases have been minimal. We have seen the more the numbers have decreased the more we have seen attendance in the classroom increase and we think that that’s a wonderful thing. You know, that’s something we’re pleased about, obviously. Parents are becoming more and more comfortable with sending their children back to school. We see students of all ages returning and that is exactly what we have been working toward. What we want to encourage now is for schools to look at their own circumstances and to see how they can begin, when they can begin to return students to that pre-pandemic full daily schedule that was once our norm, you know. At this time, we are not mandating that but we are saying, we’ve had schools who have been asking. We’ve had parents who have been asking can we begin to move back to a full school week which will be a full day week for now but our response to that is, if it can work within the confines of your reality, if it can work for you, then yes, you can begin to make those moves.”
Notably, all schools will be required to resume face-to-face classes for the new academic year in August.