Thursday, September 29, 2022

COVID-19: NPA Surprised By Decision To Continue Face-To-Face Classes

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The National Principals Association (NPA) has expressed surprise over Monday’s announcement by Education Minister Shawn Edward that face-to-face classes will continue for the time being.

NPA President Valerie St Helene-Henry told St Lucia Times the organisation expected temporary school closure given the current surge in COVID-19 cases as a fifth wave of the virus inundates this country.

“We were anticipating it was a given that we need to close schools for a while, and so we were taken by surprise,” St Helene-Henry stated, adding that she has been in contact with the Minister of Education.

“We as an executive plan to write formally to request an audience so we can get a clearer picture as to what is going on and the way forward. I know we are in a fluid situation and maybe by the end of this week the decision can change, but we think it is urgent right now based on the critical situations happening that schools should have been closed as of tomorrow,” the NPA official said Monday.

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St Helene-Henry, who previously supported the decision to resume face-to-face classes, said the NPA was disappointed over the Ministry’s response.

She said the organisation was hoping schools would be closed for a brief period to reduce COVID-19 cases and monitor the situation, perhaps over two weeks.

“We are yet to obtain information from the Ministry of Education as to what moved them to this decision,” the NPA official told St Lucia Times.

She said within the school system, there’s  data relating to student absenteeism due to COVID-19 positive cases or being unwell with flu-like symptoms and a daily increase in absent teachers because of infections by the virus or being on leave after contact tracing.

“The children cannot be at school and be instructed when the teachers are not there,” St Helene-Henry noted.

“On the ground we are the ones managing the schools, we are the ones running the schools, trying our best to ensure that instruction takes place regardless of the fact that we have teachers absent, so we would like to know what data drove that decision,” she said of the announcement that in-person classes would continue for the time being.


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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.


  1. The pandemic Teacher
    teaching behind a screen is 5x more work than in the physical setting . the teacher cannot determine if learning is actually taking place hence i would recommend face to face anytime, however with the surge and spread of the virus it creates a crisis at schools. for example in my school about 23 teachers including admin staff absent. there ar not enough teachers to supervise students on compounds as well as to enforce the protocols, hence its not safe at school during this time. teachers are not looking for an early vacation but rather looking at the bright side and the safety for everyone. we should have resorted to the blending approach as of last week monday, now we swimming upstream

  2. We blame teachers for everything concerning students. When will we start to change course and start blaming the ones who are responsible for them. We need parent to start being parents and not besties. Online school is the way to go, the kids are tech savvy. Teachers should be sending attendee reports to parents. When I hear people say kids are not doing well online, I ask how many do well in school?
    Parents out the phones down, stop buying the weaves and wigs, the nails outfits. Stop the getting, country western wkend, rum drinking and start taking the kids to church instead. Spend the 18yrs of the young life with them. They are your responsibility not government or principles or teachers but yours. When this child is old enough to look after themselves then you can take a breather and look after you until then keep at it for this child you’ve brought into the world

  3. We need a blended approach. Those students without devices can be allowed to come to school. Those without devices stay home and work via zoom.The Ministry, Teachers & principal need to consider this and work with these approaches for now.

  4. Teaching is a business now no longer a passion. There is lessons for everything … makes you wonder what is really going on during classes if u have to pay for so much extra lessons

  5. Thank you Blessed. I don’t know if others read that 15 school children died last week in Guyana as a result of Covid. They were at school, they contracted it at school. How is school the safest place. Those people saying such never stopped to think. Like the old folks used to say, ” no place safer than home” or was it better than home.

  6. The safest place for a child is home. A student can contract covid on buses; from shops, classmates, teacher, principal, janitor, watchman, shopkeeper…

    Will your child be in contact with all these people when he/she stays home?

    Can a small child stay in his/her seat from 9 to 3?
    Is there a day set aside for deep cleaning?
    Is there adequate supervision when so many teachers are sick?

  7. How about a two week break with remote learing to help stop the spread? No one in this country knows how to lead, utter pappyshow.

  8. Since when the vaccine preventing you from getting covid? As far as I am concerned the vaccinated are the carriers cuz they show no symptoms and they pass on the virus to those that are not. And I speak from experience. Vaccinated or no vaccinated we have over 3000 known cases, what’s about people who never went to get tested. Schools should be closed for at least 2 weeks to try to curb those figures.if the school is safer than the home then all hope is truly lost. If you eat a better meal at the school than your home then truly you have issues at your home.

  9. Since covid is here to stay like the flu, are teachers planning to be on a permanent vacation? Why are teachers not advocating for the closure of all public entities such as supermarkets. Why? Based on the protocols at schools it is evident that teachers are contracting covid at their homes and in the community. The schools are actually keeping the teachers safe. Therefore, they should seek permission to camp at the school.

  10. Teacher too and student, you are one person, supporting the nonsense that you say each time. If you were a teacher you would have known of the situation at over 75% of schools in St Lucia. Some schools where there are about 5 or 6 confirm cases are literally staffless as most of the others are on sick leave due to contact tracing. This makes the matter worse as students are at school with little to no supervision. A true recipe to Covid Spread.
    Over to Valarie, it is rather strange that your comments are so subtle as compared to how you were agitated when dealing with the previous Minister who always consulted your organization on such matters. You should be coming out with even more venom for being aggrieved by this unilateral decision yet you so calm and gentle as a lamb. Now both you and Howell are kept at bay, the Vociferous Students’ Council has been defunct I suppose cause they have been nonexistent in this critical time. What a difference a year makes.

  11. We need to put the students first. Online education is a disservice to our students. Many students don’t have devices and internet. If our teacher are present at school students will be encouraged to attend school. Covid is obviously not affecting our children. FACT!

  12. The teacher’s and students can only be safe at home…you can see the students in town after school liming with their friends most of them not wearing a mask is that following protocols…active cases in the thousands and only 20 of them are hospitalized so the rest of them out there spreading the virus…what are these minister’s thinking…putting people and their children in harm’s way

  13. teacher too…u eh no real teacher cuz u self see the numbers are very low in attendance……so u wana force vaccination on the teachers?? aa…since wen uh?? wen they have to close school now they nt closing it but wen they didnt have to last year they did…

  14. I believe the school is the only safe place for teacher. The students are very good at following the protocols hence, the teachers can actually learn from those experiences.

  15. Should we close the hospitals too because of covid? Should the supermarkets close because of covid? Should the banks close because of covid? The teachers are actually in the safest environment.

  16. @Teacher too. Thank you. If I don’t go to school I can not get a proper meal. Are teachers taking that into consideration?

  17. In my opinion face to face teaching should continue. Some teachers are looking for an early vacation. The schools are safer for the kids. Teachers need to be vaccinated, get adequate rest and avoid stress by stop contemplating an early vacation.

  18. A health plan for after they fall sick and chances are their conditions? The children can still bring home the covid dispite any sanitary protocols. The ministry are the ones creating their mess

  19. The ministry needs to look at student and teacher attendance before making decisions on closing schools. If schools can be safe with the effective implementation of a health plan that will keep students and teachers safe, there is no need to stop face-face- instruction. Also, schools in communities without virus spread should continue with face-to-face instruction . Closing schools should be a very last resort. Remote learning is a disservice to disadvantaged students.


  21. I totally agree with her on this one. All of my children are home sick. People are not testing and taking care of themselves so those figures they are using are not accurate. If they do a walk through in some school they will see how low the numbers are. Do the right thing now before you regret it later on

  22. You are so right..My child’s school barely has classes, teachers as well as students sick. I guess the others have to stay there until they show symptoms. I am for face to face classes but for now it’s crucial.

  23. Your association supported the opening of school inspite of the upsurge of covid-19 cases, now you are surprise that the Ministry of Education didn’t close school? What do u want?

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