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When Will Schools Re-Open? #542491
05/21/20 04:14 AM
05/21/20 04:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,057
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

And while there are talks about a timeline for the reopening of the tourism industry, have there been similar discussions within the Ministry of Education for the reopening of schools countrywide?

For almost 2 months now, the nation's schoolchildren have been at a big disadvantage in their studies, and the school year is rapidly coming to a close. Officials in the United Kingdom are considering reopening schools in that country on June 1st. Mexico is in the process of a partial re-opening, while France has already re-opened. So, when we caught up with Education Minister Patrick Faber at another event today, we asked if Belize has made any progress on that front.

Faber told us the school system is not yet ready for the new normal, where social distancing and the mandatory use of face masks are a requirement to help keep Belize COVID free:

Hon. Patrick Faber - Minister of Education
"You've heard me say that all is not lost in terms of this school year just yet - at least, we not ready to make that pronouncement just yet. It is looking unlikely. That is as far as I will take it, and the simple reason for that is that while we are relatively okay in terms of the situation with COVID-19, what we're not ready for yet, is the new normal, and how it is we're going to return to the classroom. And that will take some kind of planning and proper coordination. We are in the process, as we speak, of engaging with regional bodies, such as CARPHA and even our local health authorities to decide on what that new normal is going to be. How is it that we're going to have the kids return to class? Is it that they are going to be wearing masks? What is going to be the new protocol for sanitizing the school? How is it that they're going to sit in the classroom? Are they going to be respecting a 6-feet or 3-feet level of social distancing - physical distancing? All of these are questions that would have to be solved. We have to have a proper protocol if we are to return. And getting everybody prepared for that, before the end of the school year is looking very unlikely at this time. I'm very cautious, you know, because you see, we have a tendency in our country to believe that when things like this happen, that we can just sit back. And that's really what I am trying to deter. I would want everybody to still remain very focused, even though we were - take the CXC and CAPE for instance. There were some media houses who were saying that the exams were canceled, and we said profusely, they are not canceled, and that people still need to be ready. So, when I hear entities saying we're not ready, it means, to me then, that people slept at the wheel while we were supposed to be keeping seriously at our task of being prepared, and being ready, despite the fact that we were not in the classroom."

Channel 7

Re: When Will Schools Re-Open? [Re: Marty] #542514
05/22/20 04:13 AM
05/22/20 04:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,057
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Health on Schools Reopening

What did Manzanero have to say about schools?

Last night on the news, you heard Education Minister Patrick Faber say that at this time, it appears unlikely that schools will re-open before this current school year ends. He stressed that he was not willing to make that decision just yet, because he is still hopeful the students will get some of that in-class contact time that the pandemic has deprived them of.

The problem is that there is still no finalized protocol on whether or not students will have to wear masks at school. And then, there is the set up of the classrooms, which don't exactly allow for that 3 to 6 feet of social distancing between each student.

The Director of Health Services today spoke about the Ministry's stance and input on a possible resumption of classes:

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Service
"We had a first discussion with the Ministry of Education CEO and other managers of the different management systems in the school last week Friday and there is one tomorrow afternoon, virtual session because there are many unknown as you reopen. For example, one of the topics I discuss with the Ministry of Education was what happens with the schools that in the Cayo area for example, that have a huge influx of people coming from Melchor and further along all the way up to Flores who come to school on a daily basis. I don't know that when the schools open whether that will be possible and I think we need to be able to inform the people on that side at this point in time, yesterday when I was in Corozal I found out that there are people who come from Chetumal also to school here but the numbers are about 10% of what comes across the Guatemala border. Again, I don't know that is going to be a possibility right now because we can't safeguard people that are coming in from outside. That's one of the topics discussed, the other is masks, whether we will be asking young children to wear a mask, one of the recommendations that come up on that day and again, this an involving process, was that children perhaps would be more likely and perhaps safer for them to use a face shield because that allows for a better breathing process and also it prevents young children from touching their face if they have a face shield, that's an option. We discussed that schools would need to have better hand washing stations, better cleaning of their bathroom facilities, the school calendar may change, we had toss out the idea of them opening in August or earlier because your entire system is thrown out because if we are thinking you are going to have bigger numbers towards the end of the year, then you might need to start earlier because you might need to close sooner and go through different cycles. We discussed about the idea of maybe only having key subjects being taught, having morning and afternoon groups, so that you only have half the population or half the population goes Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Tuesday, Thursday the following week and you rotate that cycle. Again, this is us throwing out ideas to Ministry of Education, that's not going to be our call but we are trying to do this kind of guided by public health, how we can do that situation as move along.

Channel 7

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