A Cabinet Meeting of Wednesday 29th September, 2021 decided that teachers are to be included in the category of frontline workers.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves made the announcement as he spoke on VC3 TV’s ‘Round Table Talk’ that same evening.
“On the basis of the advice which we have received, including advice from the medical authorities, based on the Health Services Sub-Committee of NEMO, it was decided to put in these regulations to include teachers as frontline workers,” Dr. Gonslaves said.
He further stated that not only teachers, but also “those who working at the schools, the cooks and so on, everybody who comes in touch with children,” are also included in this bracket.
Frontline workers have previously been identified as Medical/Health Services personnel, Police Officers, Custom/Port Officers and Prison Officers.
These categories of workers are expected to fully vaccinate against the disease and teachers, who are now part of this group, will be expected to follow this same vaccination guideline.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, had, during the WE FM’s ‘Issue at Hand’ programme of Sunday 26th September disclosed that persons among the general public had been calling for the inclusion of teachers in the frontline workers category.
He had stated, “And during this period, I must tell you, I’ve received a lot of messages. People have telephoned me saying that we must put in the regulations coming up, teachers as those who should be considered frontline workers just like how we consider nurses and doctors and police and Customs Officers and Prison Officers and people at port – sea ports and airports.”
Dr. Gonsalves had however, intimated that a determination is best made after dialogue with the medical authorities, especially as teacher vaccination could effectively return normalcy to school lifeThe Prime Minister cautioned teachers that “The same position applies. You have to take the vaccine or you take the test, and if you don’t do that you wouldn’t be allowed on the compound.”
The new school year, i.e. term one, begins on 4th October as originally scheduled and will, in the first instance, embark on two weeks of online instructions.
After that period, school management and staff will decide on how to proceed with a blended approach, with particular focus on entry level (Grade K and Form 1) and exit level (Grade 6 and Form 5) students.The next phase is expected to be a return to Face-to-Face instructions.