Press conference by the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training to update the public on the resumption of face-to-face classes – February 15, 2022. (PMO)

Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is not a requirement for the return to face-to-face classes as schools reopen across Barbados on Monday, February 21.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. The Most Honourable Kenneth George, gave this assurance as he addressed a media briefing to update the country on plans for students and teachers to return to the classroom.

He was joined by Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney; Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer Bradshaw and other officials.

Dr. George said at present between 62 and 65 per cent of teachers were vaccinated, while approximately 10,000 students, representing half of the student population on the island, have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

“So, the Ministry of Health will continue to promote vaccinations. Ideally, we would like to see it nationally at 70 per cent, but it is not a requirement for the restart of schools at this time.

However, the Chief Medical Officer stressed that vaccines were available for all adults, and there was no reason why teachers should not be vaccinated. “We would like to see that number well over 80 per cent,” he said.

Meanwhile, the random testing of students and teachers is set to be a feature of the return to face-to-face classes in Barbados, and parents are being assured that the tests will not be invasive.

Dr. George explained that the tests would be conducted by trained persons, in a professional manner, to ensure the child’s protection.

He, however, noted that this was unlikely to occur during the first week of the reopening of schools as the tests had not yet arrived on the island.

The Chief Medical Officer said members of the public would be updated when the tests arrived.

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