The upsurge in the COVID-19 cases in Dominica has affected the official opening of the 2021/2022 school in Dominica.
Speculation was rife that the opening of school would have been affected as a result of the rising number of cases in Dominica and that was confirmed by Education Minister Octavia Alfred.
In a brief release, the Education Minister announced that the Government of Dominica has taken the decision to postpone the reopening of schools due to the recent Covid-19 surge affecting the island.
“The Covid-19 Pandemic continues to significantly impact all the sectors within the country and the education system in Dominica is no exception,” she said. “The most increase in cases has necessitated that the Ministry of Education postpones the reopening of schools on the island.”
According to Alfred, “The Ministry of Education understands the anxiety of our parents and students and we have spent the better part of the last three (3) weeks in planning for the reopening of school, therefore the following decisions have been taken.”
She stated that from September 1st to September 10th, 2021 teachers will be engaged in planning and training will be completed in various areas.
“During this time, parents and the general public will also be engaged,” she stated.
Furthermore, she stated that from September 13th, 2021 to October 1st, 2021, instructions will commence fully online for 5th form students only.
“Based on a survey carried out by the Minister of Education, all students moving from 4 to 5 have devices and also have their textbooks,” the Education Minister stated.
“We have a very low number of students who do not have access to the internet at home; these students will be accommodated at the primary schools in their villages taking into consideration the necessary protocols.”
The Education Minister stated that all teachers will “work from their schools as schools have internet and devices for use by teachers.”
Alfred pointed out that to formalize online learning; students will also follow a structured timetable.
“They will be in class from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM with six 45 minutes sessions, two 15 minute eye and brain breaks, and one 20 minute snack break,” the Education Minister said.
She made it clear that students are expected to dress in uniform while attending class even if they are at home.
“Classes will be monitored by Education Officers, principals, and lead teachers…students from 1st to 4th form will begin instructions from October 4th, 2021.”
Primary school students are expected to also begin instructions on October 4th, 2021 and according to Alfred, the Ministry of Education is in the process of finalizing the model of instruction that will be utilized
She said the public will be given more information as time progresses
Meanwhile, the Education Minister is encouraging teachers to get vaccinated for their protection and the protection of the students.
“Presently, 37 percent of our teachers are vaccinated,” she revealed.