Schools to return to remote learning as of today

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(Observer)

All schools and educational institutions in the country – both public and private – are expected to immediately return to remote learning from today for at least the next couple of weeks.

The decision from the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda came days after a number of schools were forced to either close or suspend classes after some students were exposed to the Covid-19 virus through parents or others who tested positive.

In a memo to all school principals yesterday, Director of Education Clare Browne explained that the decision came after critical examination of current conditions.

Possible resumption of in-person instruction, the director said, will occur on February 22.

“At this time, allowances are given to institutions for a nominal group of students and teachers to have a limited number of in-person classes, any given time,” Browne said.

“The decision to allow this nominal group on plant, will have to be discussed with the education officers, school administration,” he explained.

Teachers who do not have the resources to facilitate remote learning will be required to access such resources at their respective schools. Ancillary and clerical staff are also expected to report for duty as normal.

Browne said all efforts should be made to ensure the health and safety of all personnel while on the school premises.

Over the past few days, both the primary and secondary school in Barbuda were closed after a teacher tested positive for the virus.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Antigua also took the decision to close its primary and secondary departments in St John’s after a student’s parent tested positive for the virus and another child was exposed to a positive person.

Classes at Irene B Williams Secondary and Princess Margaret Secondary have also been disrupted due to virus concerns.

Schools closed last year for several months, beginning in March when the twin island nation entered a national lockdown.