Face-to-face classes are expected to resume in all pre-primary, primary and secondary level institutions on January 3, 2022, the start of the Easter term of the 2021/2022 academic year.
The advice was issued by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in a school bulletin to regional directors, school board chairmen and principals of all public and private educational institutions on Wednesday.
“As a means of ensuring system equity, remote learning opportunities will continue to be available and include the online/computer-aided learning, audio-visual learning and learning kits,” the education ministry said, adding that large primary schools and high schools must use the blended and/or the rotational schedule given their capacity and student enrolment.
However, before face-to-face instructions can be offered, the ministry said school administrators are required to:
- Obtain a satisfactory institutional health inspection and COVID-1 compliant approval report from the Ministry of Health and Wellness for the 2021/2022 academic year.
- Engage parents in consultation to aid their preparation for face-to-face learning. Consultation can be done virtually or in small groups as per the guidelines of the Disaster Risk Management Act.
- Submit to the Regional Office a copy of the satisfactory health reports from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and a letter signed by the board chairman indicating the extent of the parent consultation and the start date for face-to-face engagement. The letter should also outline the schedule for face-to-face learning including the approach to be used – whole day or rotational.
- Re-sensitise all key stakeholders about the protocols to be observed and reactivate all systems to ensure the safe operations of the school. Once the health conditions are met, the re-orientation and administrative activities attendant to the reopening of schools must be completed by January 7, 2022. Every effort must be made to capitalise on contact time to address the learning loss.
The education ministry said, provided all the requirements are satisfied, the regional director will provide written approval for the commencement of face-to-face instruction.
“All staff are expected to be at work as guided by their deployment schedule. All individuals working in the school environment are expected to be vaccinated given the availability of the COVID vaccines and the special arrangements that have been made to accommodate our school staff,” the ministry said in the bulletin.
“Persons with co-morbidities are encouraged to get vaccinated and observe the COVID protocols as they carry out their daily duties on the school compound,” it added.
Vendors who operate at, or close to schools, and are selling and interacting with students are also strongly recommended and encouraged to get vaccinated.
“School administrators are expected to be strategic in the management of the school vending arrangements and in reminding students and all other parties of the necessity of mask-wearing, physical distancing and handwashing in these situations,” the education ministry said.