1. Will schools reopen on August 10, 2020 as previously planned?
Although the Ministry of Education (MOE) had planned for a national reopening of schools on August 10, 2020, based on the extensive contact tracing currently being conducted by the Ministry of Health, the MOE has decided to delay the reopening of schools until further notice.

2. What are schools expected to do in the meantime?
Teachers and principals are required to continue the preparations for the eventual reopening of schools and to develop their learning continuity plans and distance education resources in the event of prolonged school closure.

Managing Authorities are responsible to ensure that the schools under their charge are on track with the development of these learning continuity plans.

3. What will happen after the Ministry of Health has completed the contact tracing exercise?
The Ministry of Education will be guided by the Ministry of Health on its revised plans for the reopening of schools. The situation will be monitored closely and decisions made accordingly. For example, in areas with increased risk or confirmed community spread, school reopening may be further delayed; while in areas with low risk and no apparent community spread, schools will be allowed to open for face-to-face instruction.

4. Why would the Ministry of Education decide to reopen schools at all during the COVED-19 Pandemic?
Schools in Belize have been closed since March 20, 2020. This has left over 100,000 Belizean students out of school for an extended period of time. Prolonged periods without schooling can have detrimental and long-term personal, social and economic effects. Since there is no way to tell when the pandemic will be over and if or when the situation will get worse, it is best to open schools at times and in areas where there is a low rate of infection or community spread.

5. What will happen if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19?
If a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, the school will be closed for cleaning, disinfection and contact tracing. The school will reopen only after contact tracing and testing have been completed and the Ministry of Health has given the approval for reopening.

6. Do parents have to send their children to school once school reopens?
The Ministry's interest and concern is that children have access to quality education in a safer school environment. The guidelines for the safe operation of schools have been published and its implementation is presently taking place. The Ministry encourages parents to send their children when school reopens.

Additionally, children between the ages 5 and 14 are of compulsory school age. There is therefore a duty on the part of the Ministry of Education to ensure that they are engaged in appropriate schooling. Home schooling is an option provided for under Rule 10 (6) of ER 2000. Registration forms can be obtained from the District Education Centre or downloaded from the Ministry's Facebook page or website at http :11ww.goLbz.l. Applications are reviewed by the Ministry of Education and if approved, permission is granted for a term or for a maximum of one year Assessment of the child's learning will be done by the Ministry of Education.