Schools in Grenada to Reopen Without Social Distancing

Students attending public schools in Grenada will be attending classes without the enforced physical distancing measures adopted by the island’s Ministry of Health.

“At present, we do not have any evidence of any community spread of COVID in Grenada, we have no clusters under investigations either, in the present circumstance the Ministry of Health supports the full reopening of schools,” said Dr Shawn Charles, Acting Chief Medical Officer during the weekly post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday.

“We do recognise that schools play a very important role in the development of children, the longer the schools remain closed the greater the risk-off a reversal in the educational gains that have been made and off course you limit the children development with regards to education and otherwise,” said Dr. Charles, flanked by members of the National COVID-19 Response Committee.

“We know that the longer schools remain closed the greater the risk for our children. There will be higher rates of dropouts, some children will simply fall off the radar, we know that when children are home unsupervised, they are vulnerable, they are at an increased risk of violence and exploitation,” he added.

In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, the Ministry of Education adopted a blended approach to learning in which students were taught using an e-learning platform and limited in-person classes. For in-person sessions schools had to comply with three-meter physical distancing measures which resulted in students receiving two or three classes per week.

Dr. Charles said attending school the traditional way provides students with a chance to access additional childcare services that will contribute to their development and attending classes online do not provide such an opportunity.

“We also have situations where access to some vital services such as nutrition and vaccination and the general support that children receive by interacting with their peers who support them emotionally can contributes to their mental health. All of these are important, and they are placed at greater risk the longer school takes to reopen,” he said.

Several schools re-opened for the final term of the year on April 12th, 2021 while others will be reopening on April 19.

Since the pandemic, Grenada has recorded 155 cases of the virus with one death. There are three active cases.

CMC

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