BELIZE CITY, Mon. Oct. 4, 2021– Today, those schools that have been given the “green light” by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and are ready to resume classroom instruction, will be allowed to carry out face-to-face learning on their premises after an announcement by Minister Francis Fonseca last Thursday, September 30.
The October 4 reopening date is a recommendation from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, says the CEO in the Ministry of Education, Dianne Maheia, who also noted that not all schools will be allowed to open, since they will have to go through an application process for each level before approval.
As of Friday, when she spoke to local media, 59 schools had already applied, while others indicated their intention to remain online until later in the school year. The Ministry of Education is working with these schools and is taking a five-step approach to get these schools to meet the standards required for them to proceed with reopening.
She said that the Ministry is looking at the rate of vaccination among members of staff and students, and she indicated that the percentage of primary school students who are vaccinated will be especially low, since only those students over 12 would have been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The geographical location of the respective schools is also being considered. In Belize City, where community spread is rampant, schools opted to keep their doors closed, with some indicating they will continue to do so until the end of the first term.
It currently appears that a number of high schools located outside out the Belize District are also choosing to remain online in the short term. For now, the Education Ministry and schools are working together to get campuses across the country ready for a full resumption of face-to-face learning.
At this time, with the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raging, parents, teachers, and faculties, and most importantly students, are fearful and at risk of contracting the virus.
The issue of classrooms being a cesspool of sorts for viruses is also being considered. With the low vaccination rate of children and the rising rate of infections and hospitalizations being seen, some parents of young students, those in the lowest primary and infant divisions, are not eager to let them back into the classroom.
For now, a majority of the schools in the country are hunkering down and remaining online despite an all-clear by the Ministry of Education. CEO Maheia said that no schools are being mandated to open at this time.