Dorm schools, like other secondary schools across Guyana, will be reopened in accordance with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for children.

This is according to Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, who was engaging reporters on Wednesday at the sidelines of an event held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) at Liliendaal, Georgetown.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed to children aged 12 to 18 years; a majority of the children and adolescents in this age group are those who attend secondary schools.

In November, when some secondary school levels were reopened, those who attend schools with dormitory facilities, were required to isolate in the dorms for the rest of the school term or be transferred to a secondary school nearest to them. This was part of the efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the minister explained, “Dorm schools are special because of their very nature, there’s a lot of community, communal living that happens there.

“The advice from the Ministry of Health is that we should limit the number of unvaccinated persons in dorm schools and that ranges from students and (administrative) staff to teachers.”

As such, it will be necessary for dorm schools to operate as though they are in a ‘bubble’. This means that there will be COVID-19 restrictions on students and staff.

Minister Manickchand also said that there are also measures in place for those parents who would like to keep their children at home.  Recently, the Education Ministry in a statement highlighted that parents who choose not to send their child to school on the days they are scheduled to attend will be enjoined with the responsibility of ensuring that the child is continuously engaged at home.

Importantly, though, the ministry said that children at home will be able to access all of the ministry’s materials on the ministry’s website.