Thursday, November 8, is the given deadline by which all secondary school students must be fully vaccinated in order to be allowed on the school plant for face-to-face learning.
The Cabinet announced today, November 10, that eligible students who have not received the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Thursday will be refused entry to the premises of their schools.
The Executive “agreed that achieving herd immunity within the Secondary Schools is a lawful objective intended to keep all students, teachers and staff safe.”
After examining the Education Act and the recent COVID-19 Regulations, the Cabinet concluded that the law requires that parents prepare their children to attend school.
While parents are being urged to get their children 12 years and older vaccinated, some residents are crying shame on the Gaston Browne Administration.
They point out that the State ought not to be punishing children for their parents’ decisions, and that every child has a “human right” to an education.
“Where does this end?” a grandmother asks REAL News. “Since they say the Act requires parents to prepare children, are they going to arrest and lock up the parents and guardians next? This is ridiculous! Shortsighted and criminal!” he declares.
Another parent says the Ministry of Education has an obligation to provide remote-learning opportunities for the children “banned from school.”
He believes the Cabinet’s hardline stance is based on the Government’s into inability to provide reliable Internet and devices. “Ah one cop-out,” he says angrily.
Schools across Antigua and Barbuda have reopened with some face-to-face instruction, while on some days the Google Classroom platform is utilized.
Some parents are complaining that the arrangement is not working well and that contact time with teachers is woefully inadequate.