SAFETY IS PRIORITY FOR THE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS; BHS AND WAHS TO REMAIN ON SHIFT SYSTEM – PERMANENT SECRETARY HODGE
Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 06, 2022 (SKNIS): As the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections continues across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, William Hodge said that safety is the main priority.
On the January 5, 2022, edition of SKNIS’s ‘Working For You’, officials from the Ministry of Education continued their ongoing awareness campaign and took the opportunity to update the general public on several significant developments within the education sector.
“The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is travelling rapidly, is highly contagious and we are learning from other countries that children and young people seem to be the ones catching this variant very quickly. As a result, young people and children are being hospitalized because of the virus. Our children are not exempt from this; it is for this reason given the square footage of our classrooms at the Washington Archibald High School (WAHS) and the Basseterre High School (BHS)and the number of students who are enrolled in each class there which is typically either thirty (30) or thirty-four (34) that these schools will have to continue the shift system. We had already given clearance to those principals to bring all of their students back but with the situation as it is we have to see the shift system continue,” said Permanent Secretary Hodge.
A number of students have been infected with COVID-19 since the recent fourth wave has started, and education officials continued to encourage students to adhere to the non-pharmaceutical measures with a number of handwashing stations to be installed at schools across the Federation.
Vaccination remains the best tool in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus, and Mr. Hodge said he continues to work tirelessly to ensure that every teacher and student is protected against the virus.
“In order to improve school safety throughout the pandemic, we have urged all of our parents, teachers, support staff and other adults working in the schools to get vaccinated. Yes, many parents rose to the occasion and got vaccinated in an effort to protect their children. But now our children between the ages of 12-17 years old who are in school or even out of school can take the vaccine for themselves. We would really love to appeal to our young people, our future, our promising and brilliant young people in our schools to come out and get vaccinated. And we ask parents to support this process,” he said.
The Ministry of Education has in place since the beginning of the 2021/2022 school year a number of guidelines to ensure the safety of both staff and students during face-to-face interactions. Further, the Ministry has adopted several different modes of education delivery in an effort to better respond to the fluid nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and any disruption it may cause to the delivery of education across the Federation.