Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education announced that secondary schools will re-open based on the rollout of the vaccination programme for adolescents aged 12 to 17.
As such, the Ministry of Education has announced that Grades 10, 11 and 12 students will return to face-to-face learning during October 2021.
There will not be one fixed date for the reopening of all secondary schools since it is being done according to the vaccination programme.
The advice received from the Ministry of Health is that those students who were vaccinated should be given the time to be fully inoculated before entering the school environment.
Since students of the various secondary schools received their first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine on different dates, their reopening dates will also differ.
For an adolescent to be deemed fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine they must receive two doses 21 -28 days apart with an additional 10 days after the second dose to be fully protected. This means that the different secondary schools will return to face-to-face instruction on different dates.
An example of this would be students of Queen’s College, St. Rose’s High School and the Bishops’ High School received their first dose on September 1, 2021. Those students were administered their second dose on September 22, 2021. Therefore, these schools will be reopened on a date not earlier than 10 days following September 22, 2021.
Each secondary school will be informed of its respective reopening dates. The Ministry of Health has also advised that only students of these three grades at the secondary level should be allowed back into school for face-to-face learning. Grades 7 to 9 will not be reopened physically at this time. As it relates to the other levels, the plans that were previously announced stand without variation.
Schools will be reopened based on the individualized programme established by the respective schools to facilitate face-to-face engagement.
All COVID protocols such as wearing masks, washing or sanitizing hands, and being socially distanced will be observed.
It must be noted that children who are not vaccinated will not be prevented from entering their school for instruction.
However, the Ministry is encouraging parents to give consent for their children aged 12 to 17 to receive the vaccine which will serve to protect them from the effects of COVID-19.
The ministry is also encouraging parents and teachers who have not yet been vaccinated to do so now.