by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Students are back in school for the 2021-2022 school year on Wednesday, September 8.
In a little under two weeks, the nation’s youth return to the classroom and many are concerned both as it relates to vaccination and the current surge in cases of the coronavirus.
“We are 100 per cent mindful that the school system will be commencing within an environment that is affected by over 200 active cases of the Coronavirus in the Federation… This situation is certainly not what we want for the upcoming school year. Thus, I am making a passionate appeal to the general public, particularly parents of children and all workers within the Ministry of Education, to seriously and urgently [pursue taking the Covid -19 vaccine] if you have not yet done so. The educational, psychological, cognitive, and psycho-social cost of unscheduled interruption to schooling is tremendous and scarily long-term. Our nation’s children deserve the best possible education, and the reality is that face-to-face instruction is undoubtedly the best,” shared Minister of Education Honourable Jonel Powell, addressing the nation on Wednesday, August 25.
According to the Minister, students have been asking for in-person instruction, and with the Pfizer vaccine to be rolled out in six days, many hope that may be a possibility.
“It is my sincere hope that all parents and guardians of children 12 years and above will come forward with their children to receive the Pfizer Vaccine so that the children would not continue to experience learning loss,” said Powell.
The vaccine is only available for students 12 years and up, so most primary schools students and some transitioning from grade six to first form would not get the vaccine.
However, Powell appealed to parents and teachers who are not yet vaccinated to get the jab and encouraged the continued adherence to non-pharmaceutical protocols.
How has the ministry been preparing for the upcoming school year?
“During the period, 12 to 31 July 2021, the Education Services Department successfully held its annual two weeks pre-service training for prospective teachers. The Ministry of Education, summer workshop planning team has been expanded, and the group has been meeting weekly to plan for annual summer training for teachers. The summer professional development training sessions will take place virtually from Tuesday 31 dollars to Friday [September 3]. Officers of the Ministry of Education, who will be deployed to new positions as of August 2021, met on [August 24] for orientation. The positions include four new school counsellors, four new deputy principals, and one new education officer. I have gone to great lengths to itemise these operations of the Ministry of Education to solidify my statement that the machinery of the Ministry of Education is preparing for the commencement of the new school year.”
You can view Minister Powell’s full address here: