Posted: Friday, June 4, 2021. 4:01 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: With teachers officially off of strike, the prospect of schools reopening for full, face-to-face learning later this year is even higher. Schools will be reopening with a myriad of new protocols in place to safeguard the well-being of the students, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) believes teachers getting vaccinated is an integral part of that safeguard.
This week Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat, called on teachers who have not done so, to get their vaccines for the sake of the students they will be instructing in the upcoming school year.
“This is the only way to safeguard our kids. They are entrusted with our children. Over two hundred schools have gotten permission to go back to face to face and so it is critical for our teachers to get vaccinated. In August hopefully, all our schools will be back to face-to-face classes and so please come out and get vaccinated,” Chebat said.
He went on to acknowledge that the public is generally fatigued by all of the safety protocols, however, adhering to those protocols remains an essential part of the national COVID-19 response.
“It is important to recall that this virus is spread through human interaction and unless we have some control unless we have the cooperation of the public, we will not be able to defeat this virus.”
The MOHW said in May that around 3,200 teachers (approximately 54 percent) of the total target teacher population had been vaccinated.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology has been working since last year on a plan to reopen schools. Back in March, it was announced that schools would have a phased reopening, depending on a school’s ability to meet the required health and safety protocols, with some schools aiming for reopening on April 12, and others on May 10. Those reopening plans were severely hindered in many schools ad teachers took industrial action against the Government of Belize and went on strike on April 26.
On Monday, the Belize National Teachers Union (BNTU) announced that it would be suspending its strike, and taking the government to court over the decision to reduce their salaries by 10 percent and freeze their annual increments for three years.
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