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Schools across SVG to close one week early

Schools across SVG to close one week early
THE HEADS of secondary, primary and pre-primary schools, both public and private met with Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Ministry of Education officials for a consultation on COVID-19 concerns, yesterday morning.

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SCHOOLS ACROSS St Vincent the Grenadines (SVG) will close one week ahead of the normal Easter vacation.

Schools across SVG to close one week early
PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves

Government took the decision to make Friday March 20 the last day of term following consultation Monday morning with the heads of secondary, primary and pre-primary schools, both public and private.

The decision to close early comes against the backdrop of ongoing concerns over the possible spread of COVID-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Heads of private schools are being advised, though not compelled, to follow the government’s protocols in this regard.

Curtis Greaves, president of the Secondary Schools’ Association told educators and officials at Monday’s consultation that checks at secondary schools across the country indicated a 60 to 75 per cent attendance rate on Monday.

One primary school in Kingstown had as many as nine students missing from a kindergarten class yesterday and at least five students missing in grades five and six.

A teacher at a primary school on the Leeward side of the island also told SEARCHLIGHT that parents have been keeping their children at home since last week due to fears surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

Schools across SVG to close one week early
Minister of Education St Clair Prince, Chief Education Officer Elizabeth Walker, Permanent Secretary Myccle Burke at a meeting held Monday morning with heads of schools to discuss the Covid-19 Pandemic

Before the final decision was made to close schools one week early, suggestions were made at Monday’s consultation, including by Wendy Bynoe, president of the SVG Teachers’ Union to close schools on or before Wednesday, March 17.

The Ministry of Education has therefore advised that the COVID-19 situation would be monitored and information regarding the reopening of schools would be communicated to the schools by the ministry.

In light of the pending closure, schools are therefore encouraged to make all necessary arrangements for exams among other things.

They are also encouraged to await official information from CXC regarding the CSEC and CPEA

examinations, and “not to listen to rumours”.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has announced that all schools’ sporting activities have been postponed until further notice. These include the Inter-Primary and Secondary Schools Sports, and the Cricket and Volley Ball finals.

The Primary Schools Performing Arts Festival (PRISPAF) has also been put on hold.

Schools across SVG to close one week early

This morning’s meeting of heads of schools was held by the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Ministry of Health to advise them on the current situation with COVID-19, the possible impacts on schools, actions to be taken to safeguard the schools population and closure of schools.

The consultation was addressed by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Myccle Burke; Chief Education Officer Elizabeth Walker, Epidemiologist Dr Charmaine Bailey-Rogers; Infectious Disease Specialist Dr Jerrol Thompson; and Chief Health Educator Patsy Wyllie.

{UPDATED at 9:52am Tuesday, March 17,2020}

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