Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has defended the decision to reopen schools on Monday.
He explained that the decision has not been without its challenges.
“Many of our students have been severely disadvantaged,” Chastanet observed.
And he noted that parents and teachers have had to make sacrifices.
Chastanet explained that the teachers and parents were facing additional burdens with balancing work and children’s education during the COVID-19.
He listed ‘strict protocols’ that are in place to protect students, teachers and the public.
Chastanet praised the Ministries of Health and Education, the Teachers Union, teachers, administrators and frontline workers.
The PM told a news conference that he is proud of them.
“I am proud of the fact that we have not complained and tried to develop protocols to allow kids to get back to school,” Chastanet stated.
He said some children have excelled during online schooling.
“But sadly, I think that those are too far and few between,” the PM declared.
He expressed the view that a lot of children are missing the classroom setting interaction.
In addition, Chastanet added that parents are struggling while coping with economic anxieties, plus the pressure of having children at home and assisting them with their education.
He recalled an incident at one of the secondary schools here.
Last year, the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School (CCSS) closed temporarily while health officials tested a student for COVID-19.
The fourteen year old was COVID-19 positive.
According to Chastanet, the student did not affect anyone at the CCSS.
“That speaks volumes about the protocols that were in place,” he declared.
Chastaned also recalled that the student did not contract the virus on one of the school campuses.
“He brought it in with him,” the PM said.
Chastanet believed that the incident was reinforcement that the protocols work.
“So I want to reassure all the parents and the children that this government will always put you at the top of the pyramid and your health and safety,” he said.
Chastanet acknowledged that some parents will adopt a wait and see attitude before sending their children back to school.
“We understand,” he said.
But at the same time the PM expressed the hope that in the coming days those parent would rethink their position.
Headline photo caption: Prime Minister Allen Chastanet while on a weekend visit to the newly completed block at the Les Etangs Combined School in Soufriere (Image courtesy PM”s Facebook page)