Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2020. 3:32 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The remote northwest corner of the country in the Orange Walk District is the current flashpoint of the COVID-19 crisis in Belize, following an entire family being infected.
Since last week the villages of Blue Creek and San Felipe, Orange Walk, have been under a state of emergency. In a later story, we will discuss considerations being made presently by Government to lift that proclamation, but one of the key effects of it is that movement in and out of the village except in the greatest of emergencies has been curtailed.
It means in particular for students living in those villages but who attend high schools in Orange Walk Town, for example, that they cannot leave to do their examinations for Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) as needed.
Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer stated that “We have already dialogued with CXC in Barbados and they are aware that those students are in a state of emergency and they can’t leave their village.”
As for the wider question of whether those schools can re-open on August 10, Dr. Babb noted that in the case of the Roman Catholic School in San Felipe, “I’ve spoken to the general manager of Catholic School Mrs [Gayle] Thompson and she said that the school is physically ready, meaning that they are ready with sanitization supplies. They can physically distance and they have hand wash basins in place and if they don’t that’s why we have the ministry of education and we are here to support.”
But that does not necessarily mean it’s all systems go on August 10, she added: “So if that school is not ready, we are going to talk with them and work with them and ensure everybody is safe. So, if they are not ready for August tenth then we’ll delay the opening for them. Nothing is carved in stone. I believe we don’t have to make problems where problems exist. We have an open-door policy at the Ministry of Education. If there are problems lets work together and find a solution.”
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