Schools to reopen sooner than later – Education Minister

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Sauchel Giles

Schools across the country will be reopening to “full normalcy” sooner than later. This is according to Education Minister Priya Manickchand. “We are not going to be able to stay home anymore, and so shortly this country will resume to full normalcy in the classroom,” asserted the minister at a recent symposium.

The Education Minister reminded that, this Friday, the Health Ministry will be launching its COVID-19 vaccination campaign for nursery and primary school students-children between the ages of five and 11.

“On Friday coming, the Ministry of Health is going to launch its [ages] five to eleven campaign for vaccination. That means that the Pfizer vaccine…is going to be offered to all children across this country…that means nursery through primary. We are giving the appropriate time for everyone to get that vaccine, and then we’re going back into school” she explained.

Manickchand said she understands the hesitancy of some parents in getting their children vaccinated. 

“I know how worried we all are; I know how cautious we are, people prefer to take it [and] not give their children. I understand that it’s never going to be easy. But if we waited for next year September to go back fully, we would still have the same number of people who’ve taken the vaccine not taken it; some haven’t taken it. Some don’t want it…I hope parents and teachers are hearing me. Before long, sooner rather than later, we are going to go back to full return to the classroom.”

The Education Minister added, “If we had to continue the distancing, we will never get back to normalcy and normalcy is no longer a cliché word, normalcy now means a child being able to access higher education and learning or not. It’s the difference between your child succeeding and being better than you are or not. And so before long and I don’t think an entire term will pass…I want to be very, very clear on that I don’t think another term will pass with us staying home.”

She boasted that Guyana is among the countries offering a wide range of COVID-19 vaccines for free. According to her, the education and health ministries listened to the pleas of teachers and extended access to the Pfizer vaccine which was initially only available to children between the ages of 12 and 17.

Manickchand said that it is only fair that persons avail themselves of the vaccines which are being offered to them. The Education Minister said the Government has been “soft” in implementing COVID-19 measures but warned that harsh decisions will have to be made for the betterment of the nation’s children.

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