Monday, June 24, 2024

Government says schools can return to in-class learning

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Following the lifting of the COVID-19 regulations in Belize, particularly making it optional to wear face masks and observing social distancing, the Government of Belize has given the ‘go ahead’ for all schools to return to face-to-face teaching. Schools can immediately apply this change to their current schedule or wait until the beginning of the 2022-2023 academic year when in-person instruction will be mandatory.

In San Pedro Town, as in other parts of the country, schools have practiced a mixture of learning systems to keep students active in their studies. Some schools, like pre-schools, were giving face-to-face classes, while primary schools and high schools were applying a hybrid learning system. This method had students attending in-person sessions and online courses. The island schools welcomed the decision to return to pre-pandemic teaching. Primary schools like the San Pedro Roman Catholic School and San Pedro High School will responsibly return to full physical classes.

Safety measures still to be observed

Although the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology (MoECST) has issued the green light for face-to-face instruction, they made it clear that the health and safety of all students, teachers, and the school community remain of paramount importance. As such, it is recommended that schools continue the protocols of indoor mask-wearing, hand washing, and sanitizing, as well as monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms. Any students or school staff showing flu-like signs should remain at home.

It has been over two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as of April 1st, under Statutory Instrument No. 61 of 2022 (https://www.pressoffice.gov.bz/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/SI-No-61-of-2022-Public-Health.pdf), the restrictions that did not allow physical teaching, and gatherings among other activities came to an end within the country.

The MOECST indicated that their team continues to be guided by public health experts. The government will continue working hard to keep Belizean students’ academics and overall well-being a number one priority. All those involved in the many efforts to return to normalcy are acknowledged by the MOECST’s Minister, Honourable Francis Fonseca. He appreciates everyone’s help in making education in Belize the best comprehensive package for early child development in the country.

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