Rhianna Mc Kenzie
Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes says unvaccinated students are being left behind. She is urging the government to take stakeholder concerns more seriously.
In a statement on Wednesday, Haynes said, “I have raised the real risk of unvaccinated students being left behind in this process and there has been no cohesive response by the government. Additionally, very little has been said about how we are providing for our students with special needs.”
She said the government has been “cavalier” in its treatment of stakeholders’ concerns as it plans to resume in-person classes for forms 1-3 students.
“The Education Ministry continues to steamroll stakeholders, hastily implementing half-baked policies while leaving a trail of unanswered questions in their wake.
“The recent announcement that the Ministry of Education is planning the return to in-person classes for students in forms 1 to 3, in a couple of weeks, is particularly concerning because it reiterates that the ministry is not truly considering the concerns of parents and teachers.”
Haynes questioned whether there was enough data to support the decision.
“Do we know how many vaccinated students actually returned to physical classes? Does the available data support the return to in-person learning for the majority of the secondary school student population at this time?”
She said there has been a lack of genuine consultation by the ministry.
“Instructing schools to reopen and then figure things out is not good policymaking. I would argue it is not policymaking at all.”
She said TTUTA continues to lament the ministry’s dismissal of its concerns and recommendations.
“The association claims that the ministry’s current mandate promotes ‘academic inequity,’ the very outcome I have been warning against over the last year and a half.”
She said infrastructural repairs to several schools are still outstanding.
“While the ministry claims to be focused on infrastructure for virtual learning, there are schools that are still in need of physical infrastructure repairs. Moreover, some schools are unable to facilitate all students while implementing the recommended social distance protocol.
“I am once again calling on the ministry to engage in genuine, good faith consultations and to develop policies based on data and stakeholder input.”