The announcement was made by Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in a statement released last evening, April 8, 2021.
“With regards to schools, we have reduced the distancing in the classrooms from six feet to three feet to now allow most of our students to return for face-to-face instruction,” he said.
Hon Fahie noted that students would still have to observe all protocols, and this is in keeping with the advice of international and local health officials.
On Friday, March 19, 2021, the CDC reduced its social distancing guidelines in school settings from 6 feet to 3 feet as long as masks are universally used.
The change according to CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, is supported by science and could help Governments advance their goal of opening up more schools to in-person learning.
"CDC is committed to leading with science and updating our guidance as new evidence emerges," Walensky said in a statement.
Deputy Premier and Education Minister, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) had said on March 18, 2021, that he was going to propose to Cabinet to reduce the social distancing in classrooms from 6 feet to 3 feet.
“…and we will propose 3 feet in the classroom, which will allow most if not all of our students to be able to return to the classrooms,” Dr Wheatley had said on the VIP Let’s Talk radio show on ZBVI 780 AM
Due to the social distancing measures, which have made space an issue in schools, there has been a blended approach to learning in the Virgin Islands, where some of the classes are conducted online.
Noting that there are many other COVID-19 protocols that have to be observed in schools, such as mask-wearing, sanitisation, social distancing during break-time, lunch and at the playgrounds, Dr Wheatley said the only way further relaxation of the protocols can come about is if the VI community embraces vaccinations.
Dr Wheatley had admitted that he is no fan of vaccination but had, nevertheless, been vaccinated against COVID-19.