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UDP says they are not against the reopening of schools, but not under the present circumstances

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Posted: Saturday, January 8, 2022. 10:35 am CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias:

The UDP said they are not against the reopening of schools, but not under the present circumstances.

“We place on record: The United Democratic Party supports the reintroduction of our students into the physical classroom. However, this reunion must be adequately timed to give all schools an equal opportunity to qualify for the “Green Light Certification for Return to On Site School” as stipulated by the Government of Belize.”

The position of the UDP was detailed in a statement issued on Friday where the UDP made it clear that apart from only allowing schools three working days when they announced the reopening of schools for hybrid learning on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, the MoECST is proceeding to open schools on Monday, January 10, 2022, with protocols which were put in place before the arrival of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The United Democratic Party (UDP) said the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, and Technology (MoECST) has failed “to adequately plan for a safe reopening of schools with a realistic timeline” and called on the Ministry “to get serious about the business of educating the nation”.

According to the UDP, it’s the Government schools, which were unable to adequately serve the students during the pandemic because of the lack of support from the government, that will again fall short.

The UDP went on to outline eight guidelines they said the Ministry of Education should follow for a safe reopening of schools:

1. Vaccination procurement and rule out for students 5 to 11 years old

2. Continued vaccination campaign for students 12 years and older

3. Provide ALL schools, especially Government Schools with wash hand basins, thermometers, social distancing markers and disposable masks

4. Regularly provide schools with cleaning and hygiene kits or a financial grant to purchase such materials for the duration of the pandemic

5. Improve classroom ventilation by upgrading antiquated classroom designs

6. Regulate class size by establishing policies

7. Provide regular free testing upon returning to school for all teachers and auxiliary staff

8. Sensitization campaign for parents, students and teachers on a safe return to school including back to school tips.

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