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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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At the beginning of this academic year, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Technology postponed the transition to hybrid learning because of a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and the absence of approved vaccinations for our students. At the time of that announcement, the Ministry had also pledged to work on reopening some schools for hybrid learning, come October 4, 2021. In keeping with that pledge, the MoECST began giving the Green Light Certification to transition to hybrid learning for those schools who qualified.

In accordance with the decision of Cabinet, all schools are expected to be open for hybrid learning starting January 10, 2022. It is time for our students to be able to begin the transition back to the classroom in a safe and responsible manner.

On January 10th 2022, we will return safely!

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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Hybrid Classes Will Resume January 10th

Classes resume next week Monday for tens of thousands of students across the country who attend one of the over six hundred institutions in Belize. A Ministry of Education Transition to Hybrid Learning Report breaks down a detailed plan for safely getting children back into the classroom setting, with both an online and in-person learning component incorporated. Education C.E.O. Dian Maheia says that focusing on the education of the youth must remain a priority.

Dian Maheia, C.E.O., Ministry of Education

"We all know how serious the effects have been on our students being out of the classroom now for close to two years. And this is something we have been working toward; this is not a new decision, it is not a rash decision. It's really been very careful and it's taken a while for us to get to this point. Where we are now is moving to having our schools return for hybrid learning in January. We have around six hundred schools around the country. Of the six hundreds school so far, as of today - because these numbers keep changing day by day - but as of this morning, we had five hundred and thirty-nine who had already applied for reopening, five hundred and twenty who are approved. We have ninety-seven who had already opened. So, this was between October, and when school closed for December, for Christmas break, we had ninety-seven schools. We do want all the schools to return for some measure of in-person learning. That's why we keep using the term hybrid because we want to have students on campus, physically for at least a few days of the week for them to be able to have some limited form of engagement with teachers. We recognise that in many of the schools, the physical spacing is such that they can't all be there at the same time in the same way and maintain social distancing. And so that's why we understand that many of the schools need to stagger or shift; we keep using hybrid because they are going to be onsite for some of the time and then they were will continuing with distance learning some of the time."

Close to two hundred of the six hundred are ready to go come January tenth. But, because all schools are not in the same state of readiness, some will be starting their hybrid program on different days.

Concerned about Omicron, but Min of Ed Confident Schools Will follow Protocols

But, the number of active cases skyrocketing continues to be of grave concern not only to parents, but also to the Ministry of Education, and it's planned reopening of schools in the next few days. While it is widely speculated that the increasing numbers reflect that the omicron variant is in Belize, C.E.O. Maheia says they are going full speed ahead because a report shows that COVID cases during the last semester of hybrid learning originated outside of the school setting.

Dian Maheia, C.E.O., Ministry of Education

"The attention that we paid to the schools or the close to one hundred who opened for hybrid between October and December, looking at those schools that exercise showed us that we had something like nine hundred teachers who were engaged in hybrid learning for those months. And of the nine hundred teachers, we saw one hundred and thirty-three of them who had COVID; that translated to about a fourteen percent positivity rate among the teachers. With the students, there were about seven thousand - that was the approximate population of students who were engaged and there a hundred and forty-five students which translated to about two percent of the population of students who were engaged in hybrid who contracted COVID; again, during that October to December period that we tracked. So we recognised that there were instances of COVID in the schools. We recognised that based on those situations that we monitored, that the COVID cases seem to have originated mostly from outside the schools. And what we saw was that within the schools, procedures and protocols were being followed. What I find is that it is difficult for adults to believe that students follow protocols, but they really do. Children are so wonderful about understanding and appreciating structures and there's no set of people in the world better than putting structures in place than teachers."

Over eighty-five percent of the teaching staff across the country is vaccinated, while over fifteen percent of children twelve years and older have been vaccinated.

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