By Orville Williams
Leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), Joanne Massiah, is calling out the nation’s top decision-makers for the “harsh” policy that refuses face-to-face learning to students who have yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The decision to bar unvaccinated students from the classrooms was announced last week, with the government warning that, “any secondary school student who has failed to receive the Covid-19 vaccine … shall not enter onto the premises of their schools on Thursday November 11, until vaccinated”.
It has been reiterated that the sole purpose of the policy is to ensure the safety of all those who utilise the school compounds, but Massiah has asked why such a strict rule is even necessary, considering that the majority of the student population has already been inoculated.
“Why have a policy when, out of your 8,000 eligible student population, you’re saying approximately 6,000 have been vaccinated? That’s 75 percent of that population. We’re saying, why have such a harsh and inflexible policy,” she queried.
The DNA leader is not alone in that thinking, as many critics have asked similar questions of the government decision, including whether the country’s leaders are concerned about the possibility of some students being left behind as a result.
They believe, because of the numerous disruptions the students have already faced due to the pandemic, some leeway should be afforded to them, regardless of their vaccination status.
Massiah also shared a bit of advice for the decision-makers, while suggesting the likely motive behind the hard-and-fast approach.
“It’s not too late to engage the people…to continue to educate people…to try to persuade those persons who fall into vulnerable groups…[and] to try to persuade the adult population to become vaccinated.
“When you turn your attention to children, in the face of recommendations from [the Pan-American Health Organization] PAHO and [the World Health Organization] WHO, it suggests to me that you intend to reach your 80,000 target number by any means necessary,” she said.