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October 1, 2021
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October 1, 2021

Back to school: Ministry of Education tries luck again with hybrid learning

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Posted: Friday, October 1, 2021. 11:41 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: “Free paper bun” for some of our nation’s youngest on Monday, as the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology (MoECST) has restarted efforts at hybrid learning that were halted in April due to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and the absence of approved vaccinations for students.

Hybrid learning means some students in classrooms at the school campus and others at home on laptops and other accessories working on a shift system basis.

In a statement, the Ministry notes that at the time of that announcement, the Ministry had also pledged to work on reopening some schools for hybrid learning by October 2021.

So, some schools will be given the green light to reopen for hybrid learning beginning October 4, 2021, despite an increase in cases and also a reasonably successful drive to get students and teachers vaccinated.

Schools will be selected for reopening based on five criteria: 1) Geographic location of the school and the level of contagion in that area; 2) Teacher vaccination status for the school; 3) Student vaccination status for the school (considering eligible students); 4) Physical readiness of the campus to accommodate students with the required protocols; and 5) Community context of the school and the need for a return to the classroom.

The Ministry says it recognizes “that the COVID-19 realities for each school community are dynamic and that data collection is a new process. While remaining aware of the realities, the goal is to have a structure within which schools can operate and stay connected and supportive of one another during these challenging times. No plan is perfect and no one plan can suit everyone. The ministry fully anticipates that the status of some schools will change as the situation evolves in the coming months. However, the process will begin, as best as possible, to manage the new reality of hybrid education. This has to be done as Belizean children need to return to the classroom, even if it is only for a few days per week or a few hours per day.”

Those participating are of course reminded to wear masks properly, wash or sanitize hands frequently, and maintain physical distance.

“The ministry also encourages everyone 12 years and older to get vaccinated. This is the best chance at getting everyone back into the classroom,” the statement concludes.

Tens of thousands of students have been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine and we understand that some schools have been supplied with the vaccine on campus to administer second shots or vaccinate those not having already taken the jab.

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