Education Minister Shawn Edward announced Monday that after analysis of the situation and consultation with the Ministry of Health, the decision is to keep children in school for now.
The Minister of Education told a news conference the authorities believe that keeping children in school ‘ for the time being’ is the best decision in the current circumstances.
“The situation with COVID-19 is a very, very dynamic one and the situation can change in a space of a few hours. If at all the situation in country worsens, we will have absolutely no hesitation to close schools. But we are saying given the data that is before us, given the deliberations we have had with the Ministry of Health, we believe that it is still the best decision to keep the children in school for the time being,” the Minister explained.
“We know there are a few schools that have been impacted. There are a few schools where both students and teachers have been impacted, but we do not believe that has happened on a scale to close down the entire school system which would cause us to have approximately 28,000 children at home,” Edward said.
He reiterated that COVID-19 is a disrupter and game-changer not only for the education sector but almost every facet of human endeavor.
“Saint Lucia as a country has not been spared. These are very challenging times for us but we have to summon the courage to make the tough decisions,” the Minister declared.
Edward noted that for his ministry and the government, the number one priority is the health and safety of the children, teachers, principals, and ancillary staff.
As a result, the Minister asserted that there would be no compromise regarding the safety of the school family at any time.
But he said given what the Minister of Health has indicated after crunching the figures and disclosing what it anticipates, the belief is that children should remain in school.
Nevertheless, he made it clear that if tomorrow the Ministry of Health signals a change in the national dynamic warranting the closure of schools, there will be absolutely no hesitation in doing so.
The Minister spoke amid national concern over a COVID-19 surge as the country grapples with a fifth wave of the virus that authorities say started on December 16, resulting in an average of 136 cases daily.