A communique sent via email by the Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations officially informed parents, students and teachers of the intent to resume school operations in the physical setting on January 04th, 2021, the official reopening date of school.
It outlined a plan that will have teachers and other school staff to return to work on January 4 and students to resume classes on January 11th, 2021.
A few parents, guardians and teachers who spoke to The Voice weren’t too thrilled with the announcement of the proposed return to school. “Which right thinking parent will take that chance”, an uncle asked while answering with a stern “no” if he would be dropping his nieces and uncles off to school in January.
With a vaccine possibly arriving on the island in March of 2021, a mother expressed concern over reopening schools before immunization. “I am worried that there is still community spread and we might end up with a worse situation than what happened at the last Secondary School”, she asserted, adding that “we should wait for the vaccines to arrive, vaccinate all students and then reopen schools”.
The global pandemic has held the education sector in a chokehold for all of the 2020 academic year leaving officials with no alternative but to implement digital schooling or E-learning. According to one primary school teacher, many students still struggle to adapt to the new format and would welcome the news of returning to the classroom. “Honestly, my colleagues and I have no issues with the proposed reopening”, she said, “once it is done on rotation”.
Schools in Saint Lucia have been closed since October after a COVID-19 case was linked to a student at one of the secondary schools and other positive discoveries were made.
The Department of Education to allay the fears of parents and teachers assured all that “the health and safety of students and staff is paramount, and the Department has been and continues to consult with stakeholders to ensure the mode of operation provides for the safest possible environment for all.”