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HomeNewsLocal NewsMinister of Education Addresses COVID-19 Emergency Response Systems in Schools

Minister of Education Addresses COVID-19 Emergency Response Systems in Schools

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – In an address to the nation, the Minister of Education et al. Jonel Powell, yesterday (September 15) spoke about the return to online learning for two schools a week after the official opening of the school year and the guidelines in place leading these decisions.

The Washington Archibald High School and the Charles E. Mills Secondary School have returned to online classes due to positive COVID-19 cases, and Powell shared that the Ministry of Education’s new guidelines that came into effect on Sept. 1, would guide the operations and logistics of schools, including COVID-19 response mechanisms.

“In recent times, several of our schools and early childhood facilities have been impacted by COVID-19. The Ministry of Education has worked collaboratively with the Ministry of Health to, first and foremost, uphold the safety of all, and mitigate the further spread of the virus. Consequently, on receipt of reports of individuals who one are exhibiting flu-like symptoms; two, have had contact with someone in quarantine, or three, have had contact with a person positive for COVID-19, the established emergency monitoring and response system for schools is used to guide decision making.”

On Nevis, some fifth form students from the Gingerland Secondary School will transition to online learning effective Friday, September 17, 2021.

Within the guidelines, an emergency system is used for the logistical arrangements in response to the COVID-19 situation. The emergency system is divided into four levels.

“LEVEL 0: School is open for onsite instruction, and all students can attend school. LEVEL 1: School is open for onsite instruction, but on a shift, system to accommodate physical distancing with a large school population. Thus, students attend school at designated times. LEVEL 2: School is open, but testing and contact tracing are ordered by the Ministry of Health. A level 2 designation is assigned when: A student or staff member has flu-like symptoms or has been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case; A student or staff member whose immediate family, or a relative who they have had significant close contact with, is in quarantine; A student or staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. LEVEL 3: School is closed by the Ministry of Education, under the guidance of the National COVID-19 Task Force.”

The minister asked parents to ere on the side of caution if their children or wards show any signs of being ill, came into contact with someone in quarantine, or recently tested positive for the virus to stay at home.

“I urge us all to continue to follow all the precautionary recommendations and guidelines outlined by our government acting on the advice of the National COVID-19 Task Force. Let us continue to uphold the appropriate hygiene protocols and practice the necessary physical distancing to limit the spread of the virus,”

You can find the complete guidelines here: https://www.education.gov.kn/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Final-Updated-Ministry-of-Education-Guidelines-for-the-Re-Opening-of-Schools-2021-2022.pdf.

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