Schools across St. Vincent and the Grenadines are set to reopen with face-to-face learning on Monday August 31, 2020 for the new academic school year.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) has outlined protocols that would put in place. The wearing of face coverings for both teachers and students is strongly advised. Also, a temperature-checking system will be implemented at all schools.
Minister of Education, St. Clair ‘Jimmy’ Prince told Parliament last Friday that the Health Ministry is in the process of training schools on how to conduct temperature checks. Temperatures will be taken at the start of each day. The data will be recorded.
In response to this, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union (SVGTU) is calling on the MoE to provide schools with health professionals to perform the temperature checks, instead of having it done by teachers.
President of the union, Oswald Robinson, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday said: “It is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to ensure that they have trained personnel at the entrance of the school to check temperatures. Our teachers are not health professionals. That’s not part of the nature of teaching.”
In a press release dated August 19, 2020, the SVGTU advised its members of its position on the reopening of schools with the following:
- The checking of students’ temperature is not the responsibility of the teachers and therefore you are not obligated to do so.
- The Principal’s office is not appropriate for a sick bay. A suitable isolated space should be designated as such.
- The requisite number of wash stations should be placed at the entrance to all schools Additionally, schools should be provided with adequate garbage bins for the proper disposal of refuge.
- All schools must be cleaned, fogged and sanitized before the reopening of schools. This is solely the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.
- Face masks and hand sanitizers must be provided by the Ministry of Education for teachers and students.
- A day time security personnel must be stationed at all schools.
- In the event of full return to online teaching/learning, the Ministry of Education must provide compatible devices for all students and teachers and must ensure an adequate internet source for all.
The union thanked members for their co-operation while recommending that all health protocols as advised by the World Health Organization and Ministry of Health be adhered to.
(Photo credit: iwnsvg)