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Reflect The Change

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Doesn’t the reopening of schools MIMICS a LARGE MASS GATHERING?

5 min read

Why are safety measures important at our schools amidst a pandemic? Our children matter! Corona is Real! 

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.”

Jane D Hull

I don’t know where to begin.  Today, January 9th, 2021, St. Lucia recorded another 43 new Corona cases!!! The largest figure thus far.

Are we still searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Maybe the unicorn ran away with it.

There seems to be no end in sight regarding the madness I have witnessed over the past few weeks.

The frantic mad rush for the re-opening of schools is mind boggling. The sooner we as parents come to the realization that teachers are not our children’s babysitters, meaningful change would follow. Yes, we all want our children back in the classrooms, however, at what expense!!

Are parents willing to lose their son or daughter due to the authorities’ lackadaisical posture???

As a concerned parent, I was taken aback when I heard the Chief Medical Officer of Saint Lucia, Dr Sharon Belmar George utter those words in the video below. She was addressing principals and teachers via a virtual platform.

The Corona Virus continues to mutate and has mystified the best brains in the medical field. Therefore, the Ministry of Education should not take this too lightly. No effort should be spared ensuring that the children of St. Lucia are safe on their return to the classrooms. It also begs the question: Is our Health Care System prepared to handle serious Covid-19 cases in the event there is a massive outbreak? One must also be cognizant of the fact that our island’s population is approximately 180 000 and can be wiped away in a blink of an eye.

What about the students and teachers with underlying health issues such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, high blood pressure and pregnancy? The focus of the Ministry of Education should lean towards ensuring that all stakeholders returning to the classroom are mentally and physically prepared to take on this daunting challenge.

Had a survey been conducted pertinent information would have been assembled about the key stakeholders (parents, teachers, students). As a consequence, thousands of parents have been placed on the breadline. How many students considering the economic impact of the pandemic on their parents are going to show up at school?

During the second suspension of classroom tuition on October 2020, I am curious to know whether the Ministry of Education rolled out teams to find out the socio-economic status of the students families?

In essence the authorities are asking students to return to school as per usual pre Covid-19.  Many lives have been disrupted due to Covid-19.

Caribbean Examination Council examination fees were due on January 8th, 2021, many parents were not in a financial position to foot that bill. The time has come where the powers that be put their money where their mouth continues to eat. THE YOUTH OF ST. LUCIA!!!

This can’t be right!!  A one size fit all approach by the Ministry of Education can lead to a catastrophic event. We can’t afford anymore deaths as a result of this virus. Five of our citizens have already gone to the great beyond.

The reopening of school on January 11th, 2021 would be the largest mass gathering since restrictions were placed on the people of St. Lucia. At any one time a school may have at least 400 students daily. If this is the case then certain restrictions placed on various businesses and social events should be lifted. Talk about a tongue in cheek moment.

To add insult to my injury, in a Press Statement penned by Mr Don Howell, President of the St. Lucia Teachers Union on January 7th, 2021 elevated my eyebrows.

He distinctly stated that the Teachers Union was extremely concerned with the execution of plans by the Ministry of Education for the safe return of students to the classroom. What is really going on here? Aren’t teachers the main ingredient when it comes to our children’s tuition.

My analysis from the Press Statement signaled that one of the KEY EDUCATION STAKEHOLDER was not consulted. How can this be? Maybe, just maybe that’s why our education system has been failing our children for decades. The lack of meaningful consultation.

See letter below.

Do our children really matter? They are the future. Why can’t the Ministry of Education understand this simple fact?

Teachers are not robots and even robots at some point in time shuts down for maintenance. They had to embrace the new normal at lightning speed. How many parents have made it their duty to keep in touch with their child’s teacher during the break from face-to-face tuition? Pre-Covid-19 teachers lamented daily the lack of parental interest in their child/children’s education!

A child success is not only dependent on a teacher. Our modern day parents are technologically savvy and educated than parents of long ago. Why not place certain activities on the back burner to tend to your child’s education. I am in total agreement that the Ministry of Education dropped the ball by not ensuring that students were digitally prepared for online tuition.

The hard and bitter truth remains. The onslaught of the pandemic has spun the world into space. The Ministry of Education cannot continue in this vein, they need to start thinking outside the box. Peradventure students returned to school and due to an outbreak schools are in lock down mode once more! Who would be most disadvantaged? THE STUDENTS!!!

Online Learning should be seriously considered in an effort to protect our children and that learning continues. The necessary arrangements should be made for those students who are not equipped with the tools needed for online learning.

Our children are the future!!!! Their safety is PARAMOUNT!

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1 thought on “Doesn’t the reopening of schools MIMICS a LARGE MASS GATHERING?

  1. What is going on in the heads of the decisions makers in my little island!!! If yall want to be comedian do to the apollo. If yall are butchers,slaughter animals…please protect our children,they are the future. Don’t distroy them before they grow. Think again and this time do it properly.CMO AND THE REST. Now is not the time for tears. Think about it

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