Vaccination priority for teachers | Daily News

Vaccination priority for teachers

279,000 teachers, non-academic staffers eligible
Health sector nod essential for re-opening
Path to re-opening of schools

The Government plans to prioritize vaccination for 279,020 teachers and non-academic staff at schools islandwide in order to expedite the re-opening of schools, Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris stated yesterday.

“Vaccination of teachers will be the initial step of re-opening the schools, which we plan to do as soon as possible,” Prof. Peiris told a media briefing at the Education Ministry.

The media briefing was preceded by a discussion between the Minister and medical specialists including paediatricians on the questions and problems that would arise in re-opening the schools.

The Minister noted that a huge disruption has been caused to children’s education as a result of the closure of all schools and other educational institutions.

Nevertheless, in order to minimise the adverse effects, many schools around the country have started online teaching programmes.

“However, taking into consideration the lack of broadband access in many areas and also the inability of many parents to afford laptops and smartphones, the Government has begun programmes such as E-Thaksalawa via terrestrial television, which is far more accessible,” the Minister said.

He however noted that online or television lessons can never really replace in-person (physical) classroom teaching. Besides, there are many other components such as extra-curricular activities and school discipline that cannot be replicated in the home environment.

“Nevertheless, we do not want to take a haphazard decision on re-opening the schools. Any such step will be taken with the advice and concurrence of specialist doctors and the health sector,” the Minister told the media. Priority will be given to the higher classes (O/L and A/L) when re-opening the schools. These exams will also be held as scheduled, as they were held last year.

Meanwhile, several other countries have begun vaccinating schoolchildren aged 12 and over, using Pfizer or Moderna vaccines after successful clinical trials. Health and Education officials said they are awaiting official guidance regarding the inoculation of schoolchildren here.


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