The Ministry of Education and Youth, has approved the full resumption of face-to-face learning effective Monday, March 7.
To aid in the preparation of institutions, additional funds are being disbursed for sanitisation and procurement of furniture where needed.
In addition, documentation is being prepared to ensure the timely payment of the fourth tranche of the funding grants, which is due in April.
The Ministry, in a bulletin, said that school administrators are being reminded that all institutions must be approved by the Ministry of Health and Wellness for in-person classes.
The “three to six feet” social/physical distancing condition has been relaxed, which means that classroom seating can be arranged to reflect the usual spacing of desks and chairs prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. In classrooms where the three to six feet rule has been eased, there should be increased vigilance and monitoring of the students for mask-wearing, temperature checks and for any signs of illness.
School administrators are required to continue utilising the isolation centres where there are signs of illness and continue to work closely with health professionals, including parish health inspectors.
They should also prepare a space and use the protocols to isolate and treat students and staff who may become ill or show symptoms of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, wash stations must be installed in strategic locations as guided by the Ministry of Health, and staff, parents and students should be resensitised about the safety protocols.
School administrators should ensure compliance with the wearing of masks and frequent washing of hands, facilitate regular and structured mask breaks, and maximise the use of open spaces in a structured manner.
The bulletin from the Education Ministry further said that all persons who enter the school grounds each day should have their temperature taken.
Where the temperature of the person is 37°C and below, entry may be granted. Where the temperature is 37.5°C to 37.9°C, the person must be isolated for five to 10 minutes and the temperature rechecked.
Where the temperature is 38°C or above, the individual should be taken to the isolation area, after which the ill-person procedure must be implemented.
Schools were also reminded to develop plans for the use and distribution of basic equipment and materials such as temperature check devices, hand-washing solutions/stations, masks, alcohol, sanitisers, and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
Staff must be deployed to clean and disinfect/sanitise school buildings, classrooms, and other facilities prior to the resumption of school and according to a daily routine while school is in operation. In addition, schools are advised to organise blitzes to ensure full vaccination of all stakeholders.
Where necessary, timetables are to be modified, to ensure that teachers are appropriately deployed to attend to the students.
Psychosocial sessions must be timetabled for all students and teachers to enable them to cope with the demands due to the pandemic.