As a part of the implementation of its PLANBELIZE AGENDA, the new PUP Administration of Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceno has established a COVID-19 EDUCATION TASK FORCE to bring together relevant key stakeholders and partners in education to help guide the Government's commitment to the delivery of quality, accessible education during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to provide specific recommendations for the safe and responsible reopening of schools for face-to-face instruction in August/September 2021 or when it is deemed safe to do so by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
We want schools to reopen. Already too much classroom time has been lost. But we must respect the very real and legitimate fears and concerns of all stakeholders in education. To this end, the decision to reopen schools is one that must be made in consultation with our teachers, BNTU, managements, students, and parents.
The Ministry of Education and the Government of Belize shall at all times be guided by the advice and recommendations of our public health officials. The health and safety of our students, teachers, and school administrative staff will at all times be the primary consideration of the Task Force.
The Task Force, in making recommendations, will remain cognizant of the very serious financial crisis facing the country and will therefore be very creative in their approach to this undertaking. The Task Force will take effect from February 1 to July 31, 2021. It is comprised of nine appointed members and is chaired by Dian Castillo Maheia, CEO of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology. The members are:
Mrs. Rossana Briceno, Special Envoy for the Development of Families and Children.
Senator Isabel Bennett.
Senator Elena Smith, BNTU
Dr. Melissa Diaz Musa, Acting Director of Health Services.
Ms. Martine King, Mind Health Connect.
Mrs. Salome Tillett, Principal, Saint Catherine's Academy.
Mrs. Jamie Usher, Principal, Belize High School.
Mr. Kevin Chen, President, National Student Union of Belize