The Government of Dominica has taken the decision to postpone the reopening of schools due to the recent Covid-19 surge affecting the island.
Education Minister Octavia Alfred made the announcement during a statement today.
“The Covid-19 Pandemic continues to significantly impact all the sectors within the country and the education system in Dominica is no exception,” she said. “The most increase in cases has necessitated that the Ministry of Education postpones the reopening of schools on the island.”
She continued, “The Ministry of Education understands the anxiety of our parents and students and we have spent the better part of the last three (3) weeks in planning for the reopening of school, therefore the following decisions have been taken.”
According to Alfred, from September 1st to September 10th 2021 teachers will be engaged in planning and training will be completed in various areas.
“During this time, parents and the general public will also be engaged,” she stated.
Furthermore, she stated that from September 13th 2021 to October 1st 2021, instructions will commence fully online for 5th form students only.
“Based on a survey carried out by the Minister of Education, all students moving from 4 to 5 have devices and also have their textbooks,” she explained. “We have a very low number of students who do not have access to internet at home; these students will be accommodated at the primary schools in their villages taking into consideration the necessary protocols.”
She said all teachers will work from their schools as schools have internet and devices for use by teachers.
Alfred pointed out that to formalize the online learning, students will also follow a structured time table.
“They will be in class from 8:00AM to 2:00PM with six 45 minutes sessions, two 15 minute eye and brain breaks and one 20 minute snack break,” the Minister explained.
Alfred made it clear that students are expected to dress in uniform while attending class even if they are at home.
“Classes will be monitored by education officers, principals and lead teachers,” she stated. “Students ‘from 1st to 4th form will begin instructions from October 4th, 2021.”
Primary school students are expected to also begin instructions on October 4th, 2021 and according to Alfred, the Ministry of Education is in the process of finalizing the model of instruction which will be utilized
She said the public will be given more information as time progresses
Meanwhile, the Education Minister is encouraging teachers to get vaccinated for their protection and the protection of the students.
“Presently, 37 percent of our teachers are vaccinated,” she revealed.
Pointing out that soon youth aged 14 to 17 will be able to get vaccinated with the receipt of Pfizer vaccines from the US, Alfred said the Ministry of Education is encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated.