Schools in Dominica to reopen as planned

Plans for the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 academic year remain in place even after Dominica recorded two new active Covid-19 cases.

 Education Minister, Octavia Alfred, who was speaking as a guest on the Prime Minister’s Anou Palay programme on the weekend, said teachers will spend the first two weeks to assess the students.

Just last week, the minister announced during the “Education in Action” programme on DBS Radio that schools will reopen on September 1st for teachers and September 7th for students.

 “I am expecting people [teachers] to spend the first two weeks to assess the students,” she said. “This is important because if our status changes as it pertains to COVID  and we have to go back to, let’s say online learning, teachers need to know where their students are.”

“We need to test the students, assess them and to put remedial programs in place even if we have to move forward face-to-face, online or a blended approach; we need that,” Alfred stated.

Additionally, Alfred said face-to-face is important because children need to be assessed in terms of their psychosocial behaviour.

“We need to have our students together so that they can debrief and share, and see friends and do other activities and while they are doing that our teachers will observe what we need to do even if we stay in school face-to-face or even if we have to go on a blended approach, some in and some out and even if all of us out we need that information,” she explained.

Alfred is hoping as she puts it, that “we can squeeze in some face-to-face. Let’s go step-by-step and ask the parents to trust the process because we have everything in place to make sure the children are safe.”

The minister added, “We need to do that for the sake of our teachers, but more so for the sake of our children.”

Meantime, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Chandler Hyacinth, said protocols have been put in place to minimize the risk of the COVID-19 pandemic in the various schools on the island.

“We have already done some training with our cleaners; we will continue to do the training as we are procuring certain disinfectants. Some of the providers are going to facilitate us in doing the training for our cleaners in how do we prepare our schools,” she said. “Certainly, what we want to do is to minimize the risk and to provide the support for protection for our staff, our teachers and our students.”

Hyacinth said students will also be encouraged to practice social distancing.

“Especially for the larger schools, one of the major larger ones is the St Martin School which is 600 plus,” she noted. “For that school, it may mean different accommodations for that school so that social distancing can work, but as we said already most of our schools are less than 100 students…”

Hygiene wardens will be needed to assist with the sanitizing, the PS added, “to monitor the students in the washrooms during play, to monitor the social distancing.”

Students will also be encouraged to wear face masks.

“We have detailed that in the guidelines and in our handbook, wearing masks on your way to school and when you leave school, during break time but we would expect that during the classroom setting, that we will relax; we will have the physical distancing so that we can relax the mask-wearing in the classroom,” she explained.

Assistant Chief Education Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Blaize said last week that the Ministry of Education had developed guidelines and protocols for the school year “for the experience during COVID and beyond” and that hopefully by this week, the guidelines would be within circulation.

In addition to the established protocols, two other measures which were mentioned at the time are the provision of more single tables to ensure that students can sit by themselves and special washroom facilities for physically-challenged children.

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17 Comments

  1. Pliers
    August 27, 2020

    School reopens.next week and teachers are still in limbo.. MOE yourconcern is only on the number of students in the school and not in the classroom. How can social distsncing happen in 20 * 15 classoom? What about the safety of both students and teachers?

    The emphasis shouldn’t be on punishing teachers but on the safety of every one. In closing I hope the eos will grace the schools with their physical presence more often especially in the south.

  2. Dominican
    August 27, 2020

    wow, what about the schools that don’t have enough classrooms/space ? :(

    • Senna
      August 27, 2020

      They will move down to Cornwall street lots of space there..

  3. Hammond
    August 26, 2020

    My take what happens to the multi grade classrooms with about 20/students? I am sure the MOE is unaware of that situation.

  4. click here
    August 26, 2020

    Thats fine, I not even living in the Kalinago Territory so i wouldnt even go there with my opinion. Those people still waiting for internet.

  5. Concerned
    August 26, 2020

    Relax the mask wearing in the classroom and wear mask when outside??? I would think that a closed space like the classroom would be a breeding ground for the virus since a single sneeze can infect a room full of people. Omg. Wow.

  6. pffft
    August 26, 2020

    Just say all u want teachers in d classroom nuh and finish with that.

  7. SMH
    August 26, 2020

    there are people who interacted with the British citizen and is hiding the fact that they did, and is not coming forward, i think that they should hold back a little on school just so more contact tracing can be done.

  8. Blubird23
    August 26, 2020

    There are children who is unable to wear mask for a long time due to their asthmatic situation. The cleaning solutions is a next high risk .seeing that we have two cases of covid 19 the minister of education should at least give that thing a next two weeks before reopening school.i love my kids and so do I love myself so I believe my kids will be home until further notice.thank u minister of education

  9. D/can to d bone
    August 25, 2020

    School is opening in 2wks sobthe washroom facilities for the physically challenge , also the single table should be in place before. Not when school open..i hope its not just talk

  10. Frank N Stein
    August 25, 2020

    Bonnie damage control is not working, just quit lad, stop talking pleaassseeee!

  11. anonymous
    August 25, 2020

    I just scanned the article- the title was enough of a turn-off. This is SICK! A SICK DECISION!
    Starting with teachers who are susceptible and who has sinus issues and allergies to include chemicals found in all those cleaning and sanitizing agents- I have already decided that is either I do not go to work and risk losing my job or die from Covid-19. And I am just one- just one of the many…

    Thanks you madam Minister (heavily sarcastic)

    • Lop
      August 26, 2020

      Well you have been home for.quite a while and failing kids so that shouldnt be a bad decision to.stay home after all

  12. Mannie
    August 25, 2020

    “I am expecting people [teachers] to spend the first two weeks to assess the students,”

    My goodness where is the respect for teachers, Imagine a minister addressing the teachers as “people” wow

    • TeteMorne I From
      August 26, 2020

      But teachers ARE PEOPLE! Why are you PEOPLE so sensitive? They did not call them animals, they said, people. Last time I checked, teachers are people. No?

      • click here
        August 26, 2020

        Which people? the cleaning lady? The grounds keeper? The security person? If it is teachers you want to asses the situation then say the teachers. Give them some respect in their profession. Yes they are people but as a professional, you address the people in the positions, by their positions.

  13. PRO
    August 25, 2020

    A remedial program after just 2 weeks ? … :?: :?:

    That seems smart maam .

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