by Linda Straker
- At present, no evidence of community spread of Covid
- Ministry of Health supports full reopening of schools
- Attending school traditional way provides students with a chance to access additional childcare services
Students attending public schools in Grenada will be attending classes in the format established before the ministries of Education and Health adopted and enforced physical distancing protocol as measures to contain and control the spread of Covid-19.
“At present, we do not have any evidence of any community spread of Covid in Grenada. We have no clusters under investigations either. In the present circumstance the Ministry of Health supports the full reopening of schools,” Dr Shawn Charles Acting Chief Medical Officer and members of the National Covid-19 Response Committee announced during the weekly post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday, 13 April 2021.
“We do recognise that schools play a very important role in the development of children, the longer the schools remain closed, the greater the risk of a reversal in the educational gains that have been made and of course, you limit the children’s development with regards to education and otherwise,” said Dr Charles.
“We know that the longer schools remain closed the greater the risk for our children. There will be higher rates of dropouts, some children will simply fall off the radar. We know that when children are home unsupervised, they are vulnerable, they are at increased risk of violence and exploitation,” he added.
In the immediate aftermath of Covid-19, the Ministry of Education adopted a blended approach to learning in which students were taught using e-learning and limited in-person classes. For in-person sessions schools had to comply with 3-metre physical distancing measures which resulted in students receiving 2 or 3 classes per week.
Charles said attending school the traditional way provides students with a chance to access additional childcare services that will contribute to their development and attending classes online do not provide such an opportunity.
“We also have situations where access to some vital services such as nutrition and vaccination and the general support that children receive by interacting with their peers who support them emotionally can contribute to their mental health. All of these are important, and they are placed at greater risk the longer school takes to reopen,” he said.
Several schools reopened for the final term of the year on 12 April 2021 while others will be reopening on 19 April 2021.
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