Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2020. 6:16 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Despite the misgivings of some teachers and parents, the Ministry of Education is moving ahead with its planned date of August 10 to reopen schools countrywide.
After reports that school general managers were overwhelmed by requests from school principals and teachers, Dr Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer, said they had established a line of communication with the general managers, some of whom attended today’s ceremony in Belize City.
“We have asked [the general managers] to share their needs with us because we constantly remind them that we are not going to leave them on their own… [The principals] should contact their general managers; I have told the general managers I will not leave them on their own and they can tell you too. I told them [to] come to me – sometimes I don’t know where I’m going to get it from, but I meet good people; I met Mr. [Lyndon] Guiseppi in traffic one day and I begged him on behalf of the schools and today here we are,” Dr Babb said.
The Ministry has been relying on corporate partners to donate those items that Dr Babb says are needed to meet the three most important things it needs to implement: regular handwashing, physical distancing in classrooms and wearing of masks.
Today’s donation from the Lord Michael Ashcroft COVID-19 Relief Fund, valued at $200,000, will provide more than 4,000 armchairs for 103 schools countrywide, from Government to church-based schools.
Donations are pouring in: Lifeline Foundation has paid for some school students’ fees to the tune of $130,000; Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) is chipping in with $50,000 for handwashing basins and school feeding programs, and Holy Redeemer Credit Union (HRCU) is also doing its part. 15 drums of hand sanitizer have also been provided.
But every little bit counts, Dr Babb reminds: “If there are other [corporate entities] out there, help us to help our children so that they can go back to school and be safe…that’s why we are going to reach out to the community. As I said before, we are not going to leave the schools on their own. If schools need help, we are going to find people who are willing to support; the Ministry of Education will find a way. You know, education is everybody’s business so everybody has to put their hands together, put all hands on deck to ensure that our children are safe. And that is my responsibility and I will do my very best to ensure that it is done.”
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