Full reopening of Barbados schools today
Public primary and secondary schools will be fully reopened in Barbados on Tuesday without any Government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions.
And Minister of Education Kay McConney says this will also signal a return to both social and physical activities during and after school.
For the past three years, schools in Barbados operated under COVID-19 protocols which imposed distance among and between students and teachers, the wearing of masks was mandatory and sanitising a must.
“The physical distancing and mask-wearing restrictions of the past two years or so have not only placed necessary safety limitations on face-to-face learning, this has also limited social interaction and other organised physical activity in schools, including our Physical Education programmes and our after school extra-curricular activities,” McConney said during a pre-recorded video message on Monday night.
“This has significantly affected the schools’ learning environment, the social and emotional development, the physical well-being and the mental health of our education community. From principals to teachers, from students to parents, from School Meals workers to wardens, from our ancillary staff to Ministry officials, we have all been affected by the COVID restrictions of the last several years.”
While the wearing of masks and social distancing are no longer mandatory, schools says they will continue to offer sanitising stations.
McConney, flanked by other high-ranking education officials, urged both parents and students to take personal responsibility for health and safety, reiterating that children who feel unwell should remain at home.
“Illness may not only make your child vulnerable to contracting other illnesses, it can also put other persons at risk. So let’s look out for each other,” she added.
The Minister warned that both the flu and COVID-19 were still circulating in the community.
Full face-to-face, social, sporting and physical activity during and after hours will be conducted under the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Both the National Primary Schools’ Athletic Championships (NAPSAC) as well as the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletics Championships (BSSAC) will be held during the Hilary Term.
People in the community who want to use the schools’ premises for after-school activity can again do so. Requests for primary schools must be sent to the Ministry of Education and those for the secondary schools to the chairman of the respective boards of management. McConney said there would be “responsible safe use for approved groups” with conditions in place to protect the physical plant.
She also spoke of the new National Grooming Policy which updates the dress code for nursery, primary and secondary public schools.
McConney said the majority of queries they received were about shoes and hairstyles. Shoes that are multifunctional, including sneakers that correspond with the approved school colours can be worn, while “simplicity, tidiness and neatness” are the main criteria for hairstyles.
READ: Ministry unveils new grooming policy for schools