The Ministry of Education will be using self-testing COVID-19 kits for all students returning to school face-to-face beginning on Monday.
This information was disclosed by the Chief Education Officer (CEO) Connie George at the Redevelopment of the Elmore Stoutt High School Campus stakeholder meeting yesterday.
“One added layer of protection that we decided to add is the self-testing kits that will be made available on our campuses on the 24th. But to accommodate the use of the kits, we will be doing some training on the use of the kits facilitated by the Ministry of Health who are prepared to train individuals who will assist with the self-testing kits,” George said.
“These self-testing kits, I understand, will be used by the students and they will be able to possibly do it themselves after some training but in the initial stages, we are going to be assisting them on the campuses. For the training schools will receive guidelines regarding the supervision of the self-test kits and reporting of the findings. They will receive starter kits also from the Ministry of Health” the Chief Education Officer added.
George further said a letter will be sent to all parents or guardians of students in the territory’s public schools informing them of the testing regiment. A form will also be attached to the letter for the parent or guardian to sign giving consent to the Education Ministry for the testing of their child or ward.
The CEO said the same document will be sent to private schools as well.
She reiterated that all the preexisting COVID
protocols on the campus will continue. These include sanitisation and hand-washing stations, three-foot distance requirements, and mask-wearing. She added that parents must ensure if their child displays any signs or symptoms of cold or fever then that child should be kept home and promptly inform the school of this.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said with school resuming in-person for students, their safety is the number one concern for his ministry. He also thanked the public, parents, and the students for their continued efforts in working hard to ensure the territory’s students are able to get an education despite going online.
“I have seen where people are trying their best to ensure they are able to supervise their children. We also appreciate the efforts of those employers and businesses who have worked well with their employees who have school-age children and have started to work with them as much as possible so that they are able to accommodate their children doing the online schooling at this time,” the minister said.
The minister said he understood the difficulties online school poses and this is the reason the ministry is working hard to bring back students in person. He added COVID
-19 cases in the territory are going down but all stakeholders must ensure the actions taken will not lead to another spike in cases.
“We know COVID
is deadly and we have seen examples of that in the territory and we cannot take for granted that we have administrators, teachers, and some students who have preexisting conditions who are particularly vulnerable to COVID
-19. So, we thank you for all of us working together in harmony to ensure we have a safe resumption of physical school,” Wheatley said.
School is expected to return physically for special needs and other special group students on January 24. All students will then return to school on January 31.