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MOEST Reopening of School Phase II Protocol Plan 2020-2021

             Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) School Reopening Protocols

                                                                               (August 2020)

 

INTRODUCTION

Within the ongoing climate of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many uncertainties it brings, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) seeks to ensure that teaching and learning occur in a safe and healthy environment that is conducive for the delivery of quality education. It is therefore necessary that all stakeholders play their part in limiting the transmission of the corona virus by practising good hand and respiratory hygiene, wearing masks, observing social/physical distancing, remaining at home when sick and cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly.

The School Reopening Protocol document is designed to address several aspects of school life which are affected by the effects of this pandemic. The first section identifies the expectations of stakeholders within this COVID-19 environment. The second section presents a number of protocols with accompanying procedures to be followed in each case. The MoEST recognises that this is a fluid situation and the protocols may need to be revised periodically in keeping with the decisions of the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda and Ministry of Health, as the new normal takes root.

EXPECTATIONS OF STAKEHOLDERS

All stakeholders: To be responsible for observing all COVID-19 protocols and associated practices in the quest to preserve human health and life. Individuals who have known exposure or travel history should declare such. ·

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology: To be responsive to the needs within the education system, arising as a result of COVID-19.

Board of Education: To work in harmony with the MoEST and schools in ensuring that timely and adequate support (technical and material) is provided in the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers: (To be submitted)

Ministry of Health: (To be submitted)

Principals and Teachers: To communicate, implement, manage and monitor COVID-19 protocols

Students: To be model students, by observing the requisite COVID-19 protocols.

Parents: To work in harmony with their children, schools and the various agencies to ensure that the COVID-19 protocols are satisfactorily observed.

Other stakeholders/agencies (school bus, service organisations, visitors, external agencies, press): To work with the MoEST and schools to enable the successful implementation and observance of COVID-19 protocols.

PROTOCOL 1: SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION

1.    School administrators should ensure that protocols are carried out within the school community.

2.  School administrators should make available resources to the relevant personnel, as provided by the Board of Education, in a space that can be easily accessed.

3. In addition to the daily log of attendance, schools should ensure that a record is kept of the seating                                 arrangements for each class to allow for contact tracing should the need arise.

4. School administrators should ensure that classroom physical distancing spaces are upheld for classroom                        instruction.  Schools have the option of using larger spaces within schools, such as auditoriums, for larger                       classes.

5. School administrators must identify an isolation space in case any student/school personnel should fall ill                     during the school day.  The isolation space is an area used as a temporary holding area to reduce the risk of                   possible transmission of the disease. Hence, care should be taken to ensure there is physical distancing,                         handwashing and sanitizing, wearing of masks and other prevention control measures being practiced. The                   isolation space must be easy to clean. After each use, it must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

6. School administrators will direct cleaners to ensure that bathrooms are supervised and the school environment is cleaned at intervals.  Further training of cleaners must be facilitated by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the MoEST.  School administrators should instruct cleaners to use the cleaning resources in the correct proportions as per that training.

7. The school administration will coordinate the taking of temperature for all persons entering the school’s                         compound.  Any of the following individuals may be assigned as a screener:

  • school nurses (where applicable);
  • parent coordinators (where applicable);
  • first aiders (where applicable);
  • administrative staff;
  • teachers;
  • security; and
  • any other authorised staff.

PROTOCOL 2: SCREENING

  1. All staff, students and visitors who arrive at the school compound are required to wear a visibly clean mask that covers both their nose and mouth. However, children younger than age two are not required to wear a face mask.
  2. All staff, students and visitors MUST be screened (temperature check, interview when necessary) upon entry of the school plant. The thermometer MUST be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Any of the following individuals may be assigned as a screener:
  • school nurses (where applicable);
  • parent coordinators (where applicable);
  •   first aiders (where applicable);
  • administrative staff;
  • teachers;
  • security officers; and
  • any other authorised staff.
  1. Anyone (staff, student, visitor) who is found to have an elevated temperature 100 degrees Fahrenheit (or 38 degrees Celsius) or higher must be asked to sit for 15 minutes then the temperature will be rechecked. The screener may then ask further questions (See Appendix A) to complete the screening process. Staff and visitors whose temperature remains elevated will not be permitted unto the compound and should be advised to seek medical attention. A record should be kept of the names of individuals whose temperature remains elevated. Data collected (temperature readings and other responses to set screening questions) should be passed on to principals for information sharing with the relevant authorities. (See Appendix C for contact details of health care providers).
  2.   Students whose temperature remains elevated should be taken to the isolation space/room (a space as identified by the school). The school then notifies the parent/guardian for the child to be collected. The parent/guardian is expected to collect or arrange for the child to be collected within the hour of notification. The parent/guardian should be encouraged to monitor the child and immediately contact the nearest clinic or call the COVID-19 hotline (462-6843) to obtain further guidance. It is the responsibility of the school to notify the Ministry of Education and the nearest clinic of such cases.
  3.     Visitation to the school compound by non-education personnel is discouraged at this time. Where there are exceptions, the individuals should be interviewed and their query passed on to the administration of the school. All visitors who do not have urgent concerns should be encouraged to call or email the school.

7.  Persons who are performing temperature checks must ensure that they wash their hands and put on a                           facemask, eye protection/face shield that fully covers the front and sides of the face. Other protective gear                     which may include disposable/reusable aprons and gowns should be used if extensive contact with students is            occurring (in early childhood centres and special needs schools). The required procedure for administering                  temperature checks must be followed.

  • If disposable or non-contact (temporal or infrared) thermometers are used and there is no physical contact with students, gloves do not need to be changed before the next check.
  • If non-contact digital or infrared thermometers are used, they should be cleaned with a minimum of 60% alcohol solution/wipe (or isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab) between each student. The same wipe can be reused if it remains wet. If there is contact at any time the machine should be cleaned with a minimum of 60% alcohol solution.
  • After each screening process is completed, the thermometer must be thoroughly cleaned and properly stored.

 PROTOCOL 3: PHYSICAL DISTANCING

The following Social Distancing guidelines are based on the Public Health Act (Dangerous Infectious Disease) Regulations 2020:

1. Physical distancing of ideally six (6) feet but no less than three (3) feet must be maintained in the general assembly, classrooms, staff rooms, administrative offices, laboratories, when standing anywhere on the school compound at all times during the school day.

2. Signage must be displayed in classrooms, in bathrooms, in general assembly areas, outside all offices, school libraries and above all wash stations, where possible in entry areas to the school plant, auditoriums, main halls, custodial staff areas and waiting areas.

3. Schools, as far as possible, should give consideration to the scheduling of staggered breaks and other movements on the school compound to ensure that all persons adhere to the physical distancing protocol and hand hygiene practices.

4. Where possible, social bubbles must be maintained during break and lunch periods. Each class must break together as an individual bubble.

5. As needed, throughout the day, teachers should allow periods for “mask breaks”, that is, periods where children can remove their masks at safe distances.

Schools should structure times for multiple “mask breaks” for young children (ages 2-6 years as defined by the WHO).

  • Mask breaks may be permitted for other students who are having difficulty with keeping on the mask
  • Mask breaks for 10 minutes at least 3 times during the school day, help students to better comply with wearing the mask
  • Everyone should immediately wash/sanitise hands before replacing their masks or re-entering their classes. Wet masks should be changed as soon as possible as it makes breathing difficult and promote the growth of micro-organisms
  • Mask breaks should only be permitted if the children are:
  • Adequately spaced at ideally six (6) feet but no less than three (3) feet apart
  • Outdoor for recess in small supervised groups
  • Eating/drinking
  • Engaged in non-contact sports, games and skill building tasks that are required for curriculum purposes while maintaining six (6) feet distancing. Kickball and running with enough space are generally safe. Contact sports at this time are prohibited until such times that the requisite protocols are developed and approved by Ministry of Health.

6. Whole school assemblies are not recommended. However, the following alternatives can be considered:

  • Schools with large halls/courtyards may be able to facilitate assemblies with required physical distancing for upper and lower secondary forms/primary classes on alternative days.
  • One form/class level can assemble per day while the other levels participate in classroom assembly.
  • Schools with smaller spaces can conduct assembly over the PA system/virtual platforms with students in classrooms, supervised by the secondary form teacher/primary class teacher and prefect.

If any of the three alternatives is chosen, it is strongly recommended that these assemblies should last between 15-20 minutes and must allow for motivational messages, COVD-19 reminders and updates, in addition to preparation for learning. (MoE Trinidad and Tobago, July 2020). In isolated cases, the principals’ discretion can be exercised should longer assemblies be required.

7. Where the required physical distance cannot be achieved, staff meetings/gatherings should be held virtually.

PROTOCOL 4: PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are meant to protect the wearer and/or those nearby from the spread of illness-causing germs such as COVID-19.

Wearing of masks or face covering

  1. All staff, students and visitors who enter the school compound are required to wear a visibly clean mask that covers the mouth and nose throughout the day.  However, children younger than age two are not required to wear masks. Special consideration to wear face shields only may be given to students and staff with an accompanying medical documentation but six (6) feet physical distance is to be maintained. Face shields should not be used as a replacement for masks even in asthmatics.
  2. Acceptable masks include disposable masks and cloth masks that completely cover mouth and nose. Designs/displays on cloth masks must be age-appropriate. Bandanas, handkerchiefs or scarves should not be used as alternative face coverings.
  • Teachers are permitted to wear face shields while teaching and maintaining the six (6) feet physical distance.
  • The Ministry of Education will provide a one-time supply of two cloth masks to all staff and students.
  • Teachers may consider using masks with a see-through covering over the mouth (and nose) when teaching young students or students with disabilities for improved communication.

Use of PPE for Staff

  1.    School nurses and delegated staff must use the requisite PPE (surgical masks, reusable face shield, hooded face shield, gloves, and/or gowns) in specific health services situations to include attending to or monitoring anyone exhibiting respiratory or flu-like symptoms where it is not possible to maintain the recommended physical distance. 

PROTOCOL 5: HAND HYGIENE AND RESPIRATORY ETIQUETTE 

All students, staff and visitors will be required to follow proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Signs and posters promoting proper hygiene practices should be posted throughout the school compound in appropriate areas (such as entrance to the school compound, administrative offices, classrooms, auditorium, cafeteria, custodial staff areas and handwashing stations).

  1. Hand Hygiene

Individuals must routinely practise proper hand hygiene to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Proper hand hygiene includes:

  • Hand washing with soap and water, lathering for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use of hand sanitisers (60% minimum alcohol) only where hands are not visibly dirty and the washing of hands is not possible. A generous amount of hand sanitiser should be rubbed vigorously over palms, back of hands, between fingers and under fingernails for 30 seconds. After consecutively using hand sanitiser three times, hands must be washed with soap and water.
  • Persons should refrain from touching eyes, noses and mouths.
  1. Staff, students and other individuals who enter the school compound should wash their hands with liquid soap at the following times:
  • Upon entering the school compound
  • Before entering the classroom;
  • Before and after snack and lunch;
  • Before and after using the bathroom;
  • Taking a student to the bathroom / helping a student with toileting;
  • After sneezing, wiping or blowing nose;
  • After using shared items or surfaces (e.g. telephones, electronic devices, keyboards, computer mice, musical instruments, tools, desks or table tops);
  • When hands are visibly soiled.

III.  Hand sanitisers should be placed in strategic locations on the school compound and monitored for refill as necessary.

  1. Respiratory Etiquette  

The COVID-19 virus spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks. Staff and students, if they must remove their masks, should cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediately dispose of the used tissue in the nearest available bin.

  • Individuals MUST wash or sanitise their hands after sneezing, coughing and handling dirty tissues.
  • If no tissue is available, using the flexed-elbow technique (that is, using the inside of the elbow or sleeve to cover the mouth and nose) is preferable to using the hands.
  1. Other Hygienic Practices

Students are encouraged to bring along a personal pouch containing an extra mask, a small packet of hand tissue, hand sanitiser and asthma pumps where needed.

The sharing of school equipment and other items should be discouraged. In cases where sharing is absolutely necessary, items must be cleaned and disinfected between uses.

PROTOCOL 6: CLEANING AND DISINFECTING

  1. Cleaning schedules should be mounted in strategic places on the school compound. Custodians are asked to supervise bathroom use (discouraging abuse of resources) and to pay attention to the following as they exercise caution and vigilance while carrying out their duties:
  • Wear gloves and disposable aprons ensuring that they are properly disposed after use.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect all rooms, floor, walls, corridors, railings and other areas of the school to be used by staff and students prior to the reopening of school.
  • Properly and regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., desks, chairs, stools, work stations, tools, equipment, classrooms, playrooms, door knobs, light switches, telephones etc.) with the appropriate disinfectant every two hours or where there is a change in groupings of students.
  • Clean and disinfect bathroom facilities after use at regular intervals.  Focus should be placed on the toilet bowls and handles, faucets, and door handles.
  • Ensure that the collected waste is properly disposed by securing garbage bags in a garbage receptacle with a lid.
  1.     Provision should be made for adequate supplies of the following: cleaning disinfecting agents, gloves, aprons, rags, and mops. These must be approved products.
  2.     Further training should be provided for custodial staff in the proper cleaning protocols, method for mixing and storing chemicals, and use of personal protective equipment to carry out cleaning and disinfection tasks.

PROTOCOL 7: DEALING WITH SUSPECTED CASES

  1. Students MUST stay at home when they are sick. Any student absent from class due to suspect COVID-19 symptoms shall not return to school without a physician’s note. Covid-19 symptoms include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat. Loss of taste or smell and headache are symptoms of interest as well, while diarrhea and vomiting remain supplemental. Any student who is a close contact of a confirmed case, must follow the directives of the Quarantine Authority. The school should aim to provide the child in quarantine or isolation with online educational materials to enable learning to continue.
  2. If a student has an elevated temperature, refer to Protocol 2 (4 and 5) for actions to be taken. A student who displays signs or symptoms of the common cold or flu while at the school, should be taken to the isolation space/room (a space as identified by the school). The school then notifies the parent/guardian for the child to be collected. The parent/guardian is expected to collect or arrange for the child to be collected within the hour of notification. The parent/guardian should be encouraged to monitor the child and contact the nearest health facility in keeping with the national protocol guidelines for reporting suspected cases, for example, call the COVID hotline to obtain further guidance. It is the responsibility of the school to contact the Ministry of Education and the nearest clinic about the issue. (See Appendix C for contact details of health care providers)
  3. Teachers, school administrators, clerical, ancillary or other staff who are sick MUST stay at home and follow the expected protocol as per the Civil Service Regulation/Labour Code for reporting uncertified illness.  Wherever possible, and in order to reduce the burden on schools, academic tasks should be submitted to their Principals/Head of Department electronically, when reporting ill. Any staff who is absent from work due to suspect COVID-19 symptoms shall not return to work without a physician’s note.
  4. If a staff member is found to have an elevated temperature while at school, refer to Protocol 2 (5) for further actions. Should a staff member display signs or symptoms of the common cold or flu while at school, that person should immediately seek permission to return home, following the established protocols of the school. Covid-19 symptoms include: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat. Loss of taste or smell and headache are symptoms of interest as well, while diarrhea and vomiting remain supplemental. The staff should contact the nearest health facility in keeping with the national protocol guidelines for reporting suspected cases, for example, call the COVID hotline to obtain further guidance. It is the responsibility of the school to contact the Ministry of Education and the nearest clinic about the issue. (See Appendix C for contact details of health care providers)
  5. Any staff who is a close contact of a confirmed case, must follow the directives of the Quarantine Authority. It is recommended that the person seeks professional health care, depending on the situation/context.
  6. In the event that a staff or student is found positive with COVID-19 or was exposed to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, the school MUST refer the matter to the Public Health Department.
  7.   Administrators should follow the usual procedure (requesting permission to close school from the Director of Education) when/if school closure becomes necessary.  Should a school needs to close due to COVID-19 exposure, immediate attention should be given to:
  • Contact tracing and notifying the relevant health authority about the matter.
  • Implement its plan for remote instruction and learning, utilising the applicable online platforms.
  •   Deep cleaning and sanitisation of the school compound must be done (in collaboration with the Ministry of Health) before school is reopened.

PROTOCOL 8: EMERGENCY DRILLS

The MoEST encourages schools to continue to observe their emergency drills as scheduled since emergencies are anticipated events in life. However, such practices will necessitate schools to:

  • Adjust established drills and to as far as possible to incorporate COVID-19 protocols but advising school that such protocols may not be fully operational in an actual emergency response. A staggered drill practice of groups of students is advisable but not to be followed should an actual event occur.
  • Adequately notify the school body of changes in drill procedures.
  • Incorporate the protocol for infection should the school be forced into high alert for closure, and/or temporary quarantine of anyone or the entire school body.

PROTOCOL 9: FOOD SERVICES

All Cafeteria Operators and Vendors must be guided by the Education Act 2008 Division 2 Part 12 Subsection 172.

Once approval has been granted and cafeteria operators and vendors possess a valid Food Handler’s Certificate, all school meal service providers shall resume operations effective the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year.

  1. All Cafeteria Operators (where not run by the school) must have a valid contract as signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and the school.
  2. All vendors must be approved by the Director of Education.
  3. It is the responsibility of the Cafeteria Operators, vendors and National School Meals personnel to ensure that the areas of operation are inspected before the resumption of school.  A certificate from the Ministry of Health confirming that the areas of operation have been inspected and approved in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines must be presented to the school’s administration for submission to MoEST before permission is granted for operation to begin.
  4. It is the responsibility of the Cafeteria Operators, vendors and National School Meals personnel to ensure that frequently-touched surfaces are regularly sanitised.
  5. Each Cafeteria Operator, vendor and National School Meals personnel are responsible for ensuring that there is a handwashing station in place for students to properly wash their hands before receiving service.
  6. The best practice for cafeterias/school meals centre is that there is one entrance and one exit for smooth physical distancing flow of traffic when service is provided.
  7. All cafeteria workers, vendors and National School Meals personnel, should follow all hygiene protocols by frequently washing their hands during the process of serving students. They are expected to wear their mask at all times. They should also adhere to all other protocols in place at the school.
  8. Parents are encouraged to ensure that once they provide meals for their children that all necessary utensils are supplied so that students can consume their meals. The sharing of utensils and food are strongly discouraged. It is strongly recommended that students are adequately supplied with a daily supply of water, along with nutritious food, fruits and vegetables.
  9. Where appropriate, students should eat their meals at their desks/tables in class or should be given pre-packaged meals for take-away.

 

PROTOCOL 10: EXTRA AND CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology recognises that extra-curricular activities to include sports, drama, dance and other forms of extra and co-curricular activities are necessary for the holistic development of our students.  However, these must be implemented in accordance with the established protocols from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Ministry of Sports, Culture and other relevant institutions.

  1. Any physical or extracurricular activity on the school’s compound should follow the physical distancing protocol and the sanitisation regimens for hands, sporting and other equipment. Where possible, events should be held out of doors.
  2. All Social and Fund-raising activities planned by the school should be sanctioned by the Ministry of Education.  Schools should detail the planned event and show how social distancing and hygienic practices will occur.
  3. There should be no fund-raising social activities planned that include the attendance of the general public including parents (School cake sales, barbecues, fetes, Open day etc.).
  4. School programmes, such as those produced by the Education Broadcasting Unit (EBU), Independence programmes, Queen and King of the Forms, Christmas concerts, dance and theatre productions and other cultural development showcases may be held via online streaming platforms. Should a live audience be deemed necessary, it MUST be limited to the capacity stipulated in the government social gathering protocol.
  5. The use of buildings for meetings by clubs and organisations (Girl Guides, Interact; Choir, Pan, Drama, Dance) should be limited.  Such groups should meet in reduced sized groups on the outdoors or large auditoriums if necessary.  The use of face shields and/or masks are mandatory along with hand sanitizing. Where possible, groups should also explore online platforms to hold regular sessions/meetings.
  6. The use of school environments by community organisations should receive special discretionary consideration by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. There should be a re- application process for existing arrangements.

 Performing Arts Subject Areas

The activities of the Performing Arts such as Music, Drama and Dance that are part of regular sessions in school must be given specific consideration as these events are expected to be continued as normal classroom activities in schools where Music, Theatre Arts are conducted.

  1. Music:
  • Singing at Assembly:   This may occur only with small groups of not more than 4 persons or soloists performing the School song; the National Anthem; and hymns.  Performers would be allowed to remove masks for singing provided they maintain 6 feet physical distancing and wear face shield.  Alternatively the school administration may wish to consider the use of pre-recorded music for the recognition of the National Anthem and school song or the use of pan/piano instrumentalists for this function.
  • Students must wash hands or apply hand sanitizer before entering Music rooms.  Musical instruments and other equipment must be cleaned before and after use.
  • The playing of any wind instruments and singing should be done preferably on the out of doors or within a large auditorium; where this is not possible, there should be limits to a maximum of two students at a time performing in a room.   Teachers may also utilise the google classroom or other online teaching platforms to hold such practical classes.
  • Other non-wind instrumental playing may occur with students wearing masks. Class groups should be limited to allow for physical distancing.
  • The involvement of teaching personnel from the Department. of Culture should be coordinated  by the school administration and the Director of Culture. Such persons should be informed about the procedures and protocols established by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.  This applies for other disciplines such as Dance and Drama.
  1. Dance and Drama/Theatre Arts
  • The use of face shields will be necessary for such practical components that require students to interface with each other but with distances of 6 feet apart.  However, any enclosed room should be properly ventilated when in use.
  • Students MUST wash hands or apply hand sanitiser before engaging in theatre arts classes.
  • Where possible, class sizes should be reduced to accommodate the space in which the classes are held.   Small groups of 5-8 should be maintained for practical components.  Where there are large class sizes, a teacher’s aide or second teacher should be engaged to assist.
  • Teachers are asked to explore various drama techniques and styles with their students that can minimise close physical/verbal contact.  Where possible, activities involving voice projection should be done outdoors or in large airy auditoriums.

PROTOCOL 11: SCHOOL BUS – BOARDING AND ALIGHTING

School bus drivers and conductors should ensure that the following protocols are followed:

  1. School buses should be sanitised before and after each trip (include wiping hand rests, door handles, rails and other hard surfaces). All buses must be equipped with supplies, including personal protective equipment and disinfectant.
  2. School bus drivers and conductors should wear face masks that cover the mouth and nose and follow the established protocols for hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  3. If a student is called upon to show his/her ID, the ID should be held in a manner for the conductor to see.  School bus conductors should avoid handling the ID.
  4. Students should enter and disembark the bus in an orderly fashion following the protocols for physical distancing, coughing and sneezing.  Each student MUST sanitise their hands before entering the bus. Each student MUST use items from their personal pouch to sanitise every time they cough or sneeze in the bus. As much as possible, windows should be kept open to allow for fresh air ventilation while transporting studentsEach child MUST wear a mask on the bus.
  5. No student should be left stranded or not be allowed to enter a school bus as a result of him/her becoming ill on their way to school. Should a student become ill while on the bus he/she should be placed in the designated holding area in the bus and the school informed immediately upon arrival. Schools should then follow the expected protocol for dealing with sick students.
  6. All school bus personnel should exercise Positive Behaviour Management techniques in dealing with students who use the school bus service.
  7. The capacity of the school buses and scheduling will be determined by the relevant authorities and will be communicated to all students in a timely manner.

PROTOCOL 11: COMMUNICATION 

The MoEST strongly recommends that signage be displayed at strategic points clearly outlining the expectations of all persons who enter the compound. Principals should advise all parents and other stakeholders of the NO VISITORS policy at this time.

  1. Signage is clearly visible at the entrance and other key areas of compounds to include (bathroom, cafeterias, classrooms etc.) Posters depicting preventative and protective measures to be displayed in strategic areas throughout the compound. These include (but are not limited to) office areas, staff rooms, classrooms, library, auditoriums etc.
  2. Signage should be used to remind individuals to:
  • Stay at home if they are feeling unwell.
  • Wear masks properly by covering the nose and mouth when unable to maintain physical distance from others.
  • Adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
  • Report symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Follow hand hygiene guidelines.
  • Follow respiratory etiquette guidelines.

3.Visible floor markers must be placed throughout the compound in areas such as classrooms, cafeteria, and corridors, which will indicate the physical distance to be observed as per the guidelines from the Ministry of Health.

4. Signage should be placed at the front of the compound advising that persons will not be allowed on the school compound:

    • if they exhibit flu-like symptoms.
    • unless wearing a mask.
    • unless temperature check results in normal reading.
    • unless hands are properly washed and/or sanitised.

5. Signage indicating No Unauthorised Visitors Allowed on the Compound should be visibly displayed.

6. Signage indicating the proper technique of washing hands should be placed above all wash basins in restrooms and at wash stations. For primary school students, age-appropriate signage is encouraged.

  1. Signage must be in place in the cafeteria and school meals centre to clearly outline the expectations of each student upon entering these spaces, receiving service and upon leaving. Floor markers must also be in place clearly identifying the physical distance to be observed while students utilise these services.
  2. Signage outlining the protocols in effect while on the school bus should be visibly displayed in all school buses. Markers must also be used to indicate the physical distancing to be observed by students while using the buses.
  3. Principals should ensure that all information for students and parents are up to date and easily accessible.
  4. Principals should make provisions for the sanitisation of all resources being used before and after each use. These resources include phones, desk, chairs, computers etc. Persons responsible for sanitisation of these resources must be clearly delineated and communicated.
  5. Principals should clearly articulate various responsibilities to school personnel and students.
  6. Principals are asked to ensure that:
  • Staff, students, and parents/guardians are aware of the following and made accessible through email, newsletters, other electronic means:
  • system of timetabling and days when students are not required to be at school
  • times for scheduled break and lunch
  • policy for personal hygiene
  • Parents and guardians are aware of the drop-off and pick-up policies of the school and regular reminders are communicated on the method of operation in the “New Normal”.
  1. Each school should implement a communication plan utilising the checklist (refer to Appendix A). Principals should clearly articulate the official medium of accessing information for respective schools. This ensures that parents, students and other stakeholders can access all information pertaining to the school from the correct source.
  2. In light of the NO VISITORS policy to be implemented, parents are encouraged to communicate with the school, staff and administration during normal hours of operation through the identified means such as email and phone).

PROTOCOL 12: STUDENT/TEACHER SUPPORT·  

The outbreak of the Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, has disrupted our entire lifestyle.  It has brought abrupt changes to every facet of our life.  As we prepare to return to school, we must acknowledge the profound impact that the pandemic has had on the students’ academic, social, emotional, and life outcomes. Therefore, we must seek to put measures in place to mitigate against a lasting impact on their development as students transition back to school.

Administrators should make provisions for an orientation session at each class or grade level to explain the new processes to students and the importance of adherence.

Allow students to share how COVID-19 has affected or impacted their lives and give them an opportunity to ask questions and express concerns with the guidance of the Counselling Unit.

  • Students should be reminded during home room/ class prayers of measures to mitigate against the spread of COVID-19 and their role as students. This should include opportunities for students to demonstrate expected hygiene etiquette, practise handwashing, etc.
  • Teachers should engage students in activities to reinforce tolerance and empathy for persons afflicted rather than stigma and discrimination against those affected.
  • Teachers should conduct readiness assessments during the first two weeks of the term to assess students’ grade level competencies. The results of the assessments should be utilised to determine learning gaps and remediation measures.
  • Teachers should also avail themselves for psychosocial support as needed.
  • Teachers are encouraged to provide the grade level teacher with any relevant information on students that would allow for interventions to enhance student performance, to include but not limited to any areas of weakness that they had observed or had been working with the student and the students’ level of interaction during the school closure.
  • Engage social services as necessary for students and their families who may facing undue hardships (lack of food for example).

 

PROTOCOL 14: CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT

Our response to COVID-19 caused significant disruptions to the delivery of education with resulting teaching and learning gaps. The return to school will immediately focus on closing these gaps through diagnostic and readiness assessments and teaching practices that will address students’ needs at every level. Support for teachers and other educators will be provided through ongoing professional development, monitoring and collaborative discourses, so that the teaching and learning process can be adjusted to meet the demands of the current environment.

  1. Teachers should use data captured by curriculum survey to determine students who require immediate intervention by schools with the assistance of Education Officers, Curriculum in an effort to address their needs.
  2. Education Officers, Curriculum should collaborate with subject specialists/teachers in schools to adjust the curriculum to ensure maximum learning is attained.
  3. MoEST Support Teams will/should conduct diagnostic assessment of students with special needs and address the significant gaps in their learning that would have occurred as a result of remote learning.
  4. The Education Officers responsible for Mathematics and English will/should utilise diagnostic tool kits to address learning needs of students who are operating below grade levels in those areas.
  5. All technical officers will/should rigorously monitor, evaluate and train teachers to encourage differentiated instruction and other effective teaching strategies.

PROTOCOL 15: EXTERNAL SUPPORT SERVICES 

The MoEST welcomes the partnership and assistance of our community and external service partners in education. However, in this pandemic, we have to exercise strict measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Limited access will be given to concerned parties.

  1. Zoom or other similar presentation modes should be considered as the first option for hosting interactive live sessions with schools.
  2. No more than two visitors should be allowed at any given time when visiting the school compound. The usual protocol screenings and practices should be observed.
  3. Contact details should be provided to facilitate contact tracing if necessary.

 

Persons who have travelled within the past two weeks MUST abide by the Travel Protocols of Antigua and Barbuda which pertain to returning to the country.

APPENDIX A – SCREENING QUESTIONS

 

  1. Did you travel within the past three weeks? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  2. Have you had any known contact with anyone who has COVID-19 or its symptoms?…………………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. Have you had any known contact with anyone who been under quarantine or isolation? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  4. Do you have any shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, loss of appetite, smell, diarrhoea, vomiting and/or body chills? ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

APPENDIX B: CHECKLIST FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND OPERATIONS

☐ All staff aware of their role in monitoring student interactions

☐ All staff aware of their revised roles as per school committees and designations

☐ Systems in place to ensure adherence to visitor’s policy (visitors wash hands before being escorted to the office; no entry on compound without mask, etc.)

☐ Parents aware of the visitor’s policy and requirements for students

☐ Form/class teachers informed of the hand washing policy, cough and sneeze etiquette and in turn inform and remind students

☐ Physical distance floor markers in the cafeteria, administration office, outside washrooms and handwashing stations/sinks

☐ Schedule for staggered lunch/break time developed and shared with staff

☐ Schedule developed for cleaning classrooms and sanitisation of furniture

☐ Age-appropriate signage promoting washing of hands and personal hygiene on compound

☐ Policy for sick students on compound shared with stakeholders

☐ Updated contact information for all students and parents

☐ Schedule for monitoring of water stores developed and followed

APPENDIX C: CONTACT NUMBERS OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS

 

LIST OF COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS & CLINICS

HEALTH CENTERS & CLINICS            LOCATIONS                                   TEL #             Cell #

All Saints, SVF & FMV                     All Saints Village                             460-1003        727 -3158

Bishop Gate Health Center               Luther George Rd                       462 -0501       7297207

(Off Rowan Henry St)

Browne’s Avenue Health Center       All saints Road                            562- 3076      729-3084

Clare Hall Health Center                    Clare Hall                                      462 -4127      729- 7258

Grays Farm Health Center                 Grays Farm Main Road              462- 0861      727-3170

Jennings Health Center                      Jennings Village                           462- 6304      729-3293

Bendals Clinic                                       Bendals Village                            462-3841

Bethesda Clinic                                    Bethesda Village                         463-2810

Bolans Clinic                                         Bolans Village                              462-3606

Cedar Grove Clinic                               Cedar Grove Village                    462-1011

Five Island Clinic                                  Five Island                                     562-7410

Freetown Clinic                                    Freetown Village                         462-5365

Johnsons Point Clinic                          Johnson’s Point Village               562-3753

Judges Hill Clinic                                  Judges Hill                                     462-3114

Liberta & Cobbs cross Clinic               Liberta Village                               460-3175

New Field Clinic                                    New Field Village                        460-4270

Old Road Clinic                                     Old Road Village                          462-8255

Parham, Willikies, Pares                     Parham Village                             463- 2576

Piggott’s Clinic                                      Pigotts Village                              462-1271

Potters Clinic                                         Potters Village                             462-4692       7297478

Swetes, Buckleys, John Hughes         Swetes Village                              460 -1174

WORK CITED

 

Ministry of Education. School Supervision and Management Division. (2020, July). Guidelines

for the reopening of schools. Trinidad and Tobago: Author. http://www.news.gov.tt/

WORKS CONSULTED

 

Alachua County public schools continuity of operations plan. (n.d.). https://www.sbac.edu/

 

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, July). School and childcare programs: Plan,

prepare and respond.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html

Global Education Cluster. (2020). Safe back to school: A practitioner’s guide.

https://resourcecentre.savethechildren.net/library/safe-back-school-practitioners-guide

 

Houston Independent School District. (2020). HISD reopening plan for the 2020-2021 academic

year. https://www.houstonisd.org/reopening

 

Ministry of Education. School Supervision and Management Division. (2020, July). Guidelines

for the reopening of schools. Trinidad and Tobago: Author. http://www.news.gov.tt/

 

Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation and Information. (n.d.). SVG COVID-19

guidelines for prevention and controls in schools. St Vincent and the Grenadines:

Author.

Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. (2020, May). Return to school: Re CXC

preparations. Antigua and Barbuda: Author.

Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. (n.d.). Manual for the reopening of

educational institutions. Jamaica: Author.

Minnesota Department of Health. (2020, June). COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting guidance

for schools and child care programs.

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools

NC Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, July). StrongSchoolsNC: Infection

control and PPE guidance (K-12).

https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/guidance/education/Strong-Schools-NC-Public-Health-Toolkit-PPE-Guidance.pdf

New York State Education Department. (n.d.). Recovering, rebuilding, and renewing: The spirit

of New York’s schools reopening guidancehttp://www.nysed.gov/

UNICEF. (2020, June). What will a return to school during the COVID-19 pandemic look like?

https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/what-will-return-school-during-covid-19-pandemic-look

World Health Organisation. (2020, July). Schools and COVID-19.

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-schools-and-covid-19