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Ministries of Health and Education still discussing reopening of schools, changes need to be made

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Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2020. 2:59 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture are still holding meetings to discuss the re-opening of school, but both ministries agree that there will have to be significant changes, particularly to Primary Schools, going forward.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services for the MOH, said that the ministries met last Friday, and have another meeting scheduled for tomorrow, May 22 to discuss systems that need to be in place for the re-opening of schools. Manzanero said that the discussions so far have centered around student safety and that major concerns exist with regard to students in western and northern Belize due to the population of students coming into Belize from neighboring countries.

“What happens with the schools that are in the Cayo area for example that have a huge influx of people coming from Melchor and further along all the way up fo Flores who come to school on a daily basis? I don’t know that when school opens, whether that will be possible,” Manzanero said.

He noted that he recently learned there are students from Chetumal that come to school in Corozal, and while that cadre of students is around only 10 percent of the amount that comes from Guatemala, he is unsure whether or not they will be able to continue their education in Belize when schools reopen. He stressed that whatever changes are made will need to be communicated to the countries with affected students.

Mask wearing for students was also a discussed topic and Manzanero noted that the MOH made a recommendation for smaller children to wear face shields as opposed to masks to limit breathing restriction and prevent younger children from touching their faces. Schools will need to have better handwashing stations and cleaning of bathroom facilities.

“The school calendar may change. We had tossed out the idea of them opening in august even or earlier, July if you will, because your entire system is just thrown out,” Manzanero added.

He stressed that the MOH has only provided suggestions based on public health guidelines but that the Ministry of Education will make the determination on what recommendations are applied.

 

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