As consultations continue to determine the format for the reopening of schools on Monday, the Director of Education is assuring parents that their children’s vaccination status will not disenfranchise them from getting an education.
“All students deserve to have an education and we will do everything we can to ensure that all students receive the education that they are supposed to get,” Clare Browne explained after noting that a parent had asked if there would be a different set of rules for vaccinated versus unvaccinated students.
Classes are expected to begin on September 13 and, following a meeting with education officials today, the Cabinet is expected to make a final decision on what format of learning — remote, face to face or a blended approach — students will be engaged in next week.
“The restrictions that we continue to impose go across the board: physical distancing, washing your hands, wearing your mask; those things are still in place and in play. So, even if students are vaccinated then they will still have to be restricted in those ways as well,” Browne said.
He added that the Ministry of Education continues to do all it can to ensure the safety of teachers, students and ancillary staff while they are on school premises.
Meanwhile, the education director said that the vaccination education programme that started last week has gone well.
The initiative was launched by the ministry to give parents, teachers and other partners in education an opportunity to engage with health experts on Covid-19 and the issue of vaccines as the government continues its rollout of the Pfizer vaccine which can be administered to children 12 years and older.
The first online session was held via Zoom last Wednesday evening and sessions were expected to conclude on Monday night.
Browne said while Covid-19 vaccinations are not mandatory, the Ministry of Education hopes that the initiative will lead to more students that are eligible getting vaccinated “so that the learning environment can be as safe as we could possibly get it”.
He said, however, the ministry will continue to respect people’s choice as vaccination efforts continue.