GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Minister of Education Priya Manickchand announced Wednesday that when the next school term begins in January 2022, all students in Grades 8 to 12 will be expected to return to full-day face-to-face classes.
She said the rotation, shift and blended learning methods have not produced encouraging results, and continuing with that will not properly prepare children for examinations and movement to the next level.
“The school doors will not be locked to students who are not vaccinated. But we can no longer continue with the level of distancing that we have been doing,” Manickchand said.
“We can’t finish the curriculum and if we can’t finish the curriculum we are failing you. It means you are going into that examination room without knowing what is on that paper, or onto the next level without completing the current level.”
Manickchand said Guyana has vaccines for all persons aged 12 and over and she urged those parents who have not yet consented for their children to be vaccinated, to use the time between now and next January to do so.
Even with this urging, the Education Minister made it clear that students who are not vaccinated will not be prevented from attending school. She said students will be required to sanitize, and soap, washbasins and masks will be provided to ensure the safety of students.
Minister Manickchand said that if a child chooses not to attend physical classes, the Ministry will make all its resources available online and parents will have to take the responsibility to ensure that material is used wisely.
As it relates to the Grade 7 students, she said they will not be allowed back into school as yet because many of them are not yet 12 years old – the minimum age to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
However, she said, when they reach that age they will be expected back in the classroom fully.
Manickchand said that would also apply to students ages five to 11 when the vaccine becomes available to them.
She said that although vaccination is not mandatory and Government will respect the choices of those who refuse to be vaccinated, the country and its education system can no longer wait on the people who one year later cannot decide on taking the vaccine.
Manickchand said the mandate of the Government and the Ministry of Education is to do what is in the best interest of the nation’s children.