By Theresa Goodwin
The mandatory six feet space between each person in certain public spaces will be reduced to three feet, in order to accommodate primary and secondary school students who will resume face-to-face learning when they return to the classroom on September 7.
Parliament will convene next Thursday to consider changes to the regulations, in addition to rules that stipulate that anyone under 18 should be accompanied by an adult when on the streets at certain times.
Information Minister Melford Nicholas told a news conference yesterday that the government is taking directives from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) which recommends a minimum of three feet, but ideally six feet.
Administrators at some of the private and secondary educational institutions in the country have also raised concerns, saying the original requirement of six feet would affect their enrolment and the number of teachers that will be employed.
“The way the regulations were written, it excluded that possibility. So, I think that we have to go back to redraft the regulations specifically as it relates to that, to allow and accommodate some social distancing,” the minister said.
He said further adjustments may have to be made for other businesses too, however, the focus for the time being is schools.
Meanwhile, the government will also be utilising private buses to transport students from rural districts to St John’s and back. This will be augmented by services already provided by the National School Bus System.