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– MINISTER POWELLBasseterre, St. Kitts, August 31, 2021 (SKNIS): With the recent arrival of the first batch of 11,700 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, children over the age of 12 years old can now be vaccinated against the deadly virus. Minister of Education, the Hon. Jonel Powell, during his remarks at the virtual opening ceremony for the 2021-2022 school year, urged all persons to support the vaccination efforts by the government to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

“Our schools must open to admit our students for face-to-face instruction.  We must put structure, plans, and programmes in place to prevent further loss of learning of our students. At this juncture, I must remind you that in addition to the other layers of protection available to us, we now have a vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine, that can be administered to students 12 years and older.   Our students mainly at the secondary and tertiary levels now have the opportunity to protect themselves against the coronavirus.  I urge all students not to miss the opportunity to be vaccinated.  Shortly, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health will partner to roll out the administration of this vaccine.  This will involve informational and sensitization sessions with teachers and parents,” said Minister Powell.

The Minister of Education further noted that it is critically important to maintain daily health and safety screenings at schools. For this reason, teachers, school administrators, gardeners, cleaners, security officers, and other school employees are “required to work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to provide adequate time to carry out the screening of all who come to school campuses. Minister Powell reaffirmed that “as stakeholders in education, we have a moral obligation to be vaccinated. We must make every effort to protect ourselves, our co-workers, and the children who cannot be vaccinated. The potential fallout from the continued reluctance of eligible persons to be vaccinated is grave.”

The Ministry of Education a year ago published guidelines for the re-opening of early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools for the school year 2020-2021. That document has been reviewed, updated, and will be published shortly.  The document is to provide guidance to ensure that schools operate in a safe and healthy environment. The health of all parents, support staff, students, teachers, school administrators is of paramount importance. Schools will reopen across the Federation on Wednesday, September 08, 2021.

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