With less than two weeks to go for the official start of school, September 7, the Government says it has provided all public education institutions with additional sums of between $500,000 and $1 million for preparations, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, secondary institutions have also been provided with $600,000 each to procure furniture, while the Ministry has commenced the procurement of tables and chairs for primary schools.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Karl Samuda, made the announcements during his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 28.
“This provision is in addition to the regular grants provided to schools in April and June, which amount to over $2.8 billion,” he said.
He also announced provision of tablets for students on PATH.
Mr. Samuda encouraged schools to contact their regional offices if there are further needs to be addressed.
In the meantime, the Education Minster informed that a phased approach will be utilised for the reopening of schools, to allow for the full care of all students and to prevent the likelihood of any spread of the virus. Tertiary institutions, however, will determine their own schedule.
“Special consideration will be given to staff and students with co-morbidity or underlying health conditions,” he said.
Schools are required to develop plans for the use and distribution of basic equipment and materials needed for sanitisation purposes, such as temperature check devices, hand-washing solutions/stations, masks, alcohol, sanitisers, and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
Mr. Samuda told the House that staff will be deployed to clean and sanitise school buildings, classrooms and other facilities prior to the resumption of school and according to a daily routine while school is in operation. Staff and students will receive training on the importance of social/physical distancing and other precautionary/hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Over 13,000 members of staff in our schools have already been trained. Each school will also develop a monitoring mechanism to ensure that precautionary measures are never compromised,” he said.