They were speaking at a press conference about the state of schools, which close across the country on Friday. Minister of Education Patrick Faber outlined the plan:..
Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education
"School will close at the end of the school day on Friday March 20th, and so Friday is a full school day. I think there was some kind of misunderstanding that suggested that there is no school on Friday, well let it be clear that we expect to have full class sessions on Friday and at the close of the day Friday, which means effectively Monday morning there will be no further classes. That is for a 2 week period, that will take us right into the Easter break and I believe that the plan is for us to return on Monday April 20th, the day that is scheduled for the resumption of classes. We don't expect teachers to be in schools expect if the management for those schools have some particular duty related to ensuring that the students are doing something constructive in this period. We by and large expect that those teachers will be out of the classrooms as well but we expect as it relates to the support staff of the schools that the management will determine whether or not they will be at work for that 2 week period. We expect to have the compliance Galen and of the University of Belize as well, in fact the chairman of the board of UB has already indicated to me that the board unanimously in a meeting yesterday, supported compliance with the Ministry's request of closing school for these 2 weeks and then going into the Easter vacation as well. So again, all schools whether they are private or public or granted aid, at all levels are expected to close for this 2 week period. We expect that home based learning will happen and what do we mean by home base learning? We mean that educational activities that students can engage in at home to build on to retain knowledge and skills will take place and we are stressing that this home based learning is not a replacement for school based learning and the objective at this time is merely to engage students during the two week period of school closure."
"The schools are asked to prepare a share with parents a home base learning plan for students which include suggested topics and activities such as reading and assignments. This is similar to what some schools and teachers normally provide to students over Easter or Christmas breaks to keep them learning while they are away from school. Parents and caregivers are asked to ensure that children spend a part of each day engaged in reading and learning activities that are provided by schools or obtained from other sources. We have asked the Ministry of Education personnel to prepare through QUADS resources that will be lodged on the Ministry's website, so that people can go there and make a connection so that our children can spend these 2 weeks engaged in reading and learning activities. The question about online learning has also been popping up and we do encourage this where it is possible; however we're concerned that where that kind of practice is going to occur, that adequate access by all students can be assured and in essence to be clear on that, you cannot require online learning and some students don't have access to a device or they don't have access to the internet. Teachers and students should therefore not be required to engage in full online classes over the 2 week period of closure; however, there can be some portions of what is being done that can happen. Should there be the need for more extended school closure, these options will be revisited of course and we will make a pronouncement at a later time."
An outline of the plan for schools is on the Ministry's facebook page.