Teachers across Antigua and Barbuda are anxious to return to the classroom following approximately one year since classes were suspended at the start of the global outbreak of the coronavirus.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (ABUT) Kimdale Mackellar said interactions with the teaching fraternity indicate that they want to return to face-to-face instructions with students.
“Teaching remotely is not the best modality to impart knowledge to students and teachers want to get back into the physical classrooms as soon as possible,” he told PointeXpress.
He explained that the only concern for both the ABUT executive and the general teaching membership is the issue of the health protocols that will be established by the ministry of health through the ministry of education.
“The key person in all the preparation for the reopening of the schools is the Chief Medical Officer. She will be the only one to set the new standards that are to be in place ahead of the return of regular classes. Teachers will be happy to return to the classroom. However, everything hinges on the safety concerns,” he further explained.
As part of the preparation for teachers to return to the classroom, arrangements were made for the vaccination of entire teaching body, ancillary staff at schools, senior education officers, department heads, ABUT executive members starting last Saturday and ending today.
In total, approximately three thousand people are expected to receive the jab by the end of the session this afternoon.
Mackellar said the vaccination programme has been going well with most teaching expressing a desire to be inoculated. “Our teachers have been willing to be vaccinated. In fact, their concerns were largely over not being vaccinated earlier in the process. By the time the process is over, a very high percentage of our teachers would have been vaccinated,” he added.
The ministry of education has set April 12 as the date when regular classes will return to all public and private educational institutions in the country. But it also stated that the vaccination of teachers and support staff was also critical to the plans.
There are twelve hundred teachers in the public service and according to data provided by the vaccination centre the participation among teachers could be as high as over ninety percent.