ROSEAU, Dominica – The Dominica government on Wednesday announced that all schools will reopen on September 7 as the island continues to implement measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has infected 18 people on the island.
Education Minister Octavia Alfred said teachers are expected in classes one week before the students.
“Subject to adequate consideration by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Health Investment, and taking everything into account all schools will be reopened for teachers on September 1, 2020 and for all students on Monday September 7th.
“So from September 1st staff will engage in final preparations to receive students. Teachers will be engaged in professional staff development, training and planning. This school year planning is even more essential than before since teachers and their department heads must review curriculum and prepare for pre-testing activities which will be very crucial this year,” Alfred said.
She said the pre-testing activities will guide the Ministry’s remedial programme and other programmes that would be necessary before “moving ahead”.
She said all measures would be taken to safeguard the health of students and teachers and that during the first four days of next month “we would also be doing a lot of cleaning and re-arranging of furniture…to ensure that everything is in place.
“Since we have no COVID-19 cases and since there is no community spread of COVID-19, all schools will reopen as normal. However the Ministry of Education has a plan in place that will be activated in the national status as it relates to COVID-19 changes,” Alfred added.
Assistant Chief Education Officer, Dr. Jeffery Blaize said new guidelines have been developed with the assistance of Israel.
“We have developed guidelines and protocols for the school year…for the period of COVID and beyond. These were prepared by the…Ministry of Education and the layout and design had been done with the assistance of Israel.
“SO we are hoping that by next week Monday, hopefully the guidelines will be in circulation (and) one of the areas we are going to be focusing upon very heavily during the academic year is that of hygiene and the importance of effective hygiene practices…and for that matter we will engage hygiene wardens to ensure that students dowhat they have to do in terms of entry at the school gates..”.
Dominica closed its schools inn March after the first case of the virus was confirmed.