Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST)
School Reopening Protocols
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 to 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
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 what is expected
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
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 arising within the
education system 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 work collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure
the health and safety of the teaching fraternity and by extension the school population.
Ministry of Health: To support and guide the MoEST for the safe and successful implementation
of COVID-19 protocols in institutions of education including facilities of higher learning.
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 the protocols are carried out within the school
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
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 sanitising,
wearing of masks and other prevention control measures being practised. The isolation
space must be easy to clean. After each use, it must be thoroughly cleaned and
6. School administrators should 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 should coordinate the taking of temperature for all persons
entering the school’s compound.
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.
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. Hands must then be washed or sanitized before
proceeding to any other area on the school compound.
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;
• security officers; and
• any other authorized staff.
4. 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
• If there is contact at any time during the screening process, the machine should be
cleaned immediately with 70-90% alcohol solution.
• After each screening process is completed, the thermometer must be thoroughly
cleaned and properly stored.
5. Anyone (staff, student, visitor) who is found to have an elevated temperature of 100°F
(or 37.7°C) 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 B for contact details of health care providers.)
6. 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 health centre/clinic or call the Education COVID-19 contact numbers: 464 6303; 464 9011 to obtain further guidance. It is the responsibility of the school to notify the Ministry of Education and the nearest health centre/clinic of such cases.
7. 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.
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
on the school compound at all times during the school day. Efforts should be made for
rooms (general assembly auditoriums/halls, classrooms, staff rooms, administrative
offices, laboratories, etc.) to be adequately ventilated.
2. Signage must be displayed in classrooms, in bathrooms, in general assembly areas,
outside all offices, school libraries, where possible in entry areas to the school plant,
auditoriums, main halls, custodial staff areas, waiting areas and, above all, wash stations.
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 students can remove their masks at safe distances.
Schools should structure times for multiple “mask breaks”.
Mask breaks may be permitted for other students who are having difficulty with keeping
on the mask.
• Mask breaks for 10 minutes at least three (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 students are:
✓ Adequately spaced at ideally six (6) feet but no less than three (3) feet apart
✓ Outdoor for recess in small supervised groups
✓ Engaged in non-contact sports, games andskill building tasks that are required
for curriculum purposes while maintaining six (6) feet distancing.
6. Whole school assemblies are not recommended. However, the following alternatives can
• 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 to 20 minutes and must allow for motivational
messages, COVID-19 reminders and updates, in addition to preparation for
learning (Ministry of Education, 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. See Appendices C and D for guidelines
from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment (MOHWE).
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
between two to five years 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. (See Appendix D for MOHWE
guidelines for use of face shields).
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. Teachers who wear face shields which meet MOHWE specifications should maintain physical distance of at least 1 m (3.3 feet). See Appendix D.
• 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
Use of PPE for Staff
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 service 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 entrances to the school compound,
administrative offices, classrooms, auditorium, cafeteria, custodial staff areas and handwashing
1. 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 (70-90% 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.
2. 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 (when or if applicable);
• 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.
3. Hand sanitizers should be used when hand washing is not possible. Hand sanitizers should
be placed in strategic locations on the school compound and monitored for refill as
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 sanitize their hands after sneezing, coughing and handling dirty
• 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.
Other Hygienic Practices
1. Students are encouraged to bring along a personal pouch containing an extra mask, a
small packet of hand tissue, hand sanitizer and asthma pumps where needed.
2. 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
• Wear gloves and disposable aprons ensuring that they are properly disposed after
• 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
• 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.
2. Provision should be made for adequate supplies of the following: cleaning and
disinfecting agents, gloves, aprons, rags, and mops. These must be approved products.
3. 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
suspected 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-19 hotline to obtain further
guidance. It is the responsibility of the school to contact the Ministry of Education and the
nearest health centre/clinic about the issue. (See Appendix C for contact details of health
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 suspected
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-19 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
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 need 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, utilizing the applicable
online platforms. • Deep cleaning and sanitization 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, as far as possible, incorporate COVID-19 protocols.
Schools must be mindful 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
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 sanitized.
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 centres 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
9. Where appropriate, students should eat their meals at their desks/tables in class.
PROTOCOL 10: EXTRA AND CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology recognizes 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 sanitization 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 organizations (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 organizations should receive special
discretionary consideration by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. There
should be a re-application process for existing arrangements.
Physical Education is recognized as an important experiential learning opportunity for students
as they heal, re-connect and adapt on their return to school. Teaching this discipline will not be
as it was before COVID-19. The established COVID-19 protocols will be observed along with the
1. From Kindergarten to Third Form, there will be regular Physical Education lessons with
the physical distancing and other protocols being observed.
2. The offering of Physical Education at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination
(CAPE) and Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) levels will be further
determined after consultations with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).
3. Contact activities at this time are prohibited until such times that the requisite protocols
are developed and approved by Ministry of Health.
4. All practical classes must be facilitated/held outdoors.
5. Limited equipment will be used in the classes and these equipment, when used, must be
cleaned and disinfected before and after use.
6. Students should not wear masks during practical Physical Education (PE) classes but
must observe the physical distancing guideline. Students are required to have:
• A small zip-lock bag to store masks when going to PE.
• A supply of disposable towels/tissue to wipe face and hands at the end of the
7. The Physical Education teacher must meet the students at the class and give instructions
as to the conduct of each lesson. Lessons should conclude 10 minutes before the
scheduled end time to allow the students to prepare for their next class.
8. Coaches who are working along with any Physical Education teacher during school time
must follow the established school curriculum and protocols.
9. All after-school training programmes should continue. However, these programmes
should be conducted under the direct guidance of the Ministry of Sports. Students’
participation in the programmes is subject to approval by parents/guardians who must
communicate directly with the Ministry of Sports to make all the necessary
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.
• 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 six (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 utilize 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.
2. 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 six (6) feet apart. Enclosed
rooms should be properly ventilated when in use.
• Students MUST wash hands or apply hand sanitiser before engaging in Theatre Arts
• 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 minimize close physical/verbal contact. Where possible, activities involving voice
projection should be done outdoors or in large airy auditoriums.
PROTOCOL 11: USING THE NATIONAL SCHOOL BUS SERVICES
School bus drivers and conductors should ensure that the following protocols are followed:
1. School buses should be sanitized 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. All students MUST sanitize
their hands before entering the bus. All students MUST use items from their personal
pouch to sanitize 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
students. Each student 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 12: 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 MOHWE.
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 sanitized.
5. Signage indicating No Unauthorized Visitors Allowed on the Compound should be visibly
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.
7. Signage must be in place in the cafeteria and school meals centre to clearly outline what
is expected 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 utilize these services.
8. 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.
9. Principals should ensure that all information for students and parents are up to date and
10. Principals should make provisions for the sanitization of all resources being used
before and after each use. These resources include but not limited to phones, desks,
chairs, computers. Persons responsible for sanitization of these resources must be clearly
identified and this information should be communicated to the individuals.
11. Principals should clearly articulate various responsibilities to school personnel and
12. Principals are asked to ensure that:
• Staff, students, and parents/guardians are aware of the following and that these are
made accessible through email, newsletters and/or 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
13. Each school should implement a communication plan utilising the checklist. (See
Appendix E). 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.
14. 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 13: 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, as students transition back to school, we must seek to
put measures in place to mitigate against a lasting impact on their development.
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, practice
• 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
utilized 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 as well as the students’ level of interaction during the school
• Engage social services as necessary for students and their families who may be 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 conduct diagnostic assessment of students with special needs
and address the significant gaps in their learning that would have occurred.
The Education Officers responsible for Mathematics and English will supervise the use of
diagnostic kits to identify the learning needs of students who are operating below grade
level in those areas. Various strategies will be utilized to address the needs of these
4. All technical officers will 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 for screenings and other 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
3. Have you had any known contact with anyone who has been under quarantine
4. Do you have any shortness of breath, sore throat, headache, loss of appetite,
smell, diarrhea, vomiting and/or body chills?
APPENDIX B: CONTACT NUMBERS OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS
LIST OF COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTRES & CLINICS
HEALTH CENTERS & CLINICS LOCATION 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
Emergency COVID-19 contact numbers to be used by educational institutions: Telephone- 464 6303;
APPENDIX C: ADVICE ON THE USE OF MASKS FOR CHILDREN IN THE COMMUNITY IN THE CONTEXT OF COVID-19
MINISTRY OF HEALTH WELLNESS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Advice on the use of masks for children in the community in the context of COVID-19
September 3rd 2020
Antigua and Barbuda saw its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020. In order to control the
outbreak, the government of Antigua and Barbuda implemented several public health
measures such as the wearing of facemasks, social and physical distancing and
handwashing. Compliance with all these measures including physical distancing, hand
hygiene, respiratory etiquette and adequate ventilation in indoor settings is essential for
reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Purpose of the document
This document provides guidance to decision makers to inform policy on the use of masks
for children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It does not address the use of masks
for adults working with children or parents/guardians or the use of masks for children in
These guidelines were adapted for Antigua and Barbuda from information from the World
Health Organization. They are based on Antigua and Barbuda’s Maternal Child and Adolescent
Health Committee’s (MCAHC) Consensus on the Advice the Use of Masks in Children. This
interim guidance will be revised and updated as new evidence emerges.
This document provides specific considerations for the use of non-medical masks, also known
as fabric masks, by children as a means for source control in the context of the current COVID19 pandemic.
For the purposes of this guidance, children are defined as anyone below the of age of 18 years.
Advice is outlined for the four following specific age groups.
• Children under two years of age.
• Children between two to five years of age
• Children between five and 11 years of age
• Children between 12 and 18 years of age
1. Children under two years of age
Children under 2 years of age should not wear masks.
2. Children between two to five years of age
Children ages 2-5 years should not wear masks for source control This advice is motivated by a “do no harm” approach and considers:
a) childhood developmental milestones;
b) compliance challenges and;
c) autonomy required to use a mask properly.
Mask wearing in this age group may be required in special circumstances. If these
circumstances require mask wearing is expected for an extended period of time, appropriate
and consistent supervision, including direct line of sight supervision by a competent adult is
needed. This is both to ensure correct use of the mask and to prevent any potential harm
associated with mask wearing to the child.
Special circumstances include:
a). Primary school entry at 5 years, where there may be mixed age groups for example 5- and 6-
year olds in a bubble where the 6-year olds are required to wear masks. Five-year-old who are
mixing with six-year olds will be required to wear masks.
b). The presence of vulnerable persons.
c). Other medical and public health advice (medical documentation may be required).
The following public health and social measures should be prioritized to minimize the risk of
SARS -CoV -2 transmission for children five years of age and under who are not required to
wear face masks.
a). Maintaining physical distance of at least 3 feet (1 meter) where feasible. (The consensus of
MCAHC is physical distance of 6 feet or 2 meters if no masks are in use)
b). Educating children to perform frequent hand hygiene
c). Limiting the size of school classes
d). Keeping the integrity of a class “bubble”
e). Ensuring good cross ventilation or outdoor activities when possible.
Source control is a strategy for reducing disease transmission by blocking
respiratory secretions produced through speaking, coughing, or sneezing.
3. Children between six and 11 years of age
Children between the ages if six and 11 years of age should wear face masks. However, a riskbased approach however should also be applied to the decision to use of a mask. This approach
should take into consideration:
a. The child’s capacity to comply with the appropriate use of masks and availability of
appropriate adult supervision.
b. Potential impact of mask wearing on learning and psychosocial development
c. Children with disabilities or with underlying diseases
4. Children between 12 and 18 years of age
For children and adolescents 12 years and older, the MCAHC agrees that mask wearing is
required in this group and while Antigua and Barbuda’s national mask guidelines for adults
can be applied in this age category, a risk-based approach should also be applied to the
decision to use of a mask. This approach should take into consideration:
a. The child’s capacity to comply with the appropriate use of masks and availability of
appropriate adult supervision.
b. Potential impact of mask wearing on learning and psychosocial development.
c. Children with disabilities or with underlying diseases.
a. Masks should fit properly (completely covers mouth and nose) and comfortably.
b. Cloth masks made of cotton are more comfortable in the tropical climate, than those of
c. Persons with asthma are at a higher risk for respiratory complications from SARS-CoV-2 and
should be encouraged to use a mask unless there is severe respiratory disease or complications
from the use of a mask.
d. Any medical contra-indication for mask use (includes severe asthma, attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) etc.) must be accompanied by medical
e. Special consideration to wear face shields only may be given to students 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.
f. The use of a medical mask for immunocompromised children or children with certain
other diseases (e.g. cancer) is usually recommended but should be assessed in consultation
with the child’s medical provider.
g. In all age groups, measures should be put in place to mitigate exclusion,
stigmatization or bullying for students who are “different”.
The MOHWE agrees that mask breaks may be helpful and support the statement in the Back to
School Protocol for the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST).
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”.
• Mask breaks for 10 minutes at least 3 times during the school day, may help students to
better comply with wearing the mask.
• More frequent mask breaks may be permitted for students who are having difficulty
with keeping on their mask.
• Everyone should immediately wash/sanitize hands before replacing their masks or reentering 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 apart o Outdoor for
recess in small supervised groups o 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.
Reduced physical activity in children is linked to increased childhood overweight and obesity
as well as negative impact on their mental health. Children should be permitted where
possible to engage in physical activity in school.
Additional Considerations for Children with Disabilities
Children with developmental disorders or disabilities may face additional barriers, limitations
and risks and therefore should be given alternative options to mask wearing, such as face
shields (see above). Policies on masks should be adapted for children with disabilities based on
social, cultural and environmental considerations.
Some children with disabilities require close physical contact with therapists, educators or
social workers. In this context, it is critical that all care providers adopt key infection prevention
and control (IPC) measures, including wearing masks, and that settings are adapted to
The wearing of masks by children with hearing loss or auditory problems may present learning
barriers and further challenges, exacerbated by the need to adhere to the recommended physical
distancing. These children may miss learning opportunities because of the degraded speech signal
stemming from mask wearing, the elimination of lipreading and speaker expressions and physical
distancing. Adapted masks to allow lipreading (e.g. clear masks) or use of face shields (see above)
may be explored as an alternative to fabric masks in these situations.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The COVID-19 situation is very dynamic. The MOHWE will continue to work the MoEST to
monitor the use of face masks in school children. We should look specifically at the impact
on our children’s health, including mental health; reduction in transmission of SARS-CoV-2;
motivators and barriers to mask wearing; and secondary impacts on a child’s development
learning, attendance in school, ability to express him/herself or access school; and impact on
children with developmental delays, health conditions, disabilities or other vulnerabilities.
Data will be used to inform strategies on communication; training and support to teachers,
educators, and parents; engagement activities for children; and distribution of materials
that empower children to use masks appropriately.
APPENDIX D: ADVICE ON THE USE OF FACE SHIELDS IN THE CONTEXT OF
MINISTRY OF HEALTH WELLNESS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Advice on the use of face shields in the context of COVID-19
September 4th 2020
Antigua and Barbuda saw its first case of COVID-19 in March 2020. In order to control the
outbreak, the government of Antigua and Barbuda implemented several public health
measures such as the wearing of facemasks, social and physical distancing and handwashing.
Compliance with all these measures including physical distancing, hand hygiene, respiratory
etiquette and adequate ventilation in indoor settings is essential for reducing the spread of
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Face shields are designed to be used provide protection from splashes of biological fluid
(particularly respiratory secretions), chemical agents and debris into the eyes. In the context of
protection from SARS-CoV-2 transmission through respiratory droplets, they are used by health
workers as personal protective equipment (PPE) for eye protection in combination with a medical
mask or a respirator.
In the context of COVID-19 in community settings, some children and adults may not be able to
wear a mask for a variety of reasons (e.g. health issues, fear of mask), and thus, face shields may
be considered as an alternative to masks as respiratory droplet protection or as source control,
based on availability, improved feasibility and better tolerability.
While a face shield may confer partial protection of the facial area against respiratory droplets
with the added benefit of ease of use, the effectiveness of face shields for source control has not
yet been adequately studied. Droplets may be exhaled or inhaled from the open gaps between
the visor and the face, which is a disadvantage inherent to its design. Other design disadvantages
include glaring, fogging, optical imperfection, and being bulkier than goggles and safety glasses.
There are many emerging face shield designs that attempt to overcome these limitations, but
current laboratory testing standards only assess face shields for their ability to provide eye
protection from chemical splashes. Further research and laboratory challenge standards are
urgently needed to investigate the effectiveness of face shields for respiratory droplet protection
and/or source control.
Purpose of the document
Some persons have been using to use face shields as a replacement of face masks. This document
provides information on the use of face shields in Antigua and Barbuda in the context of the
These guidelines were adapted for Antigua and Barbuda from information from the World Health
Organization. The MOHWE will continue to monitor emerging information on the use of face
shields for the prevention of respiratory virus transmission and update this document as new
1. At present, face shields are considered to provide a level of eye protection only and
should not be considered as an equivalent to masks with respect to respiratory
droplet protection and/or source control.
2. The Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment advises that when physical
distance cannot be maintained, and in special situations where it is not practical to wear
a mask (for example, among children with hearing loss or other disabilities or health
conditions that limit compliance with wearing fabric or medical masks and consequently
their utility), face shields may be used while taking the following considerations into
• The face shield is an incomplete physical barrier and does not provide the
filtration layers of a mask.
• The face shield should cover the entire face, be wrapped around the sides of
the face and extend to below the chin.
• Reusable face shields must be properly cleaned (with soap or a detergent and
water), disinfected (with 70-90% alcohol) and stored after each use. Face shields
that will withstand the use of disinfectants without damaging their optical
properties should be selected.
• Maintaining physical distance of at least 1 m (3.3 feet) should be maintained
where feasible, with ongoing promotion of frequent hand hygiene and
• Caution should be taken to avoid injury when children don, wear, and doff face
shields and they should be supervised at all times.
APPENDIX E: 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 sanitization of furniture
☐ Age-appropriate signage promoting washing of hands and personal hygiene on
☐ Policy for sick students on compound shared with stakeholders
☐ Updated contact information for all students and parents
☐ Schedule developed and followed for monitoring water storage and accessing
adequate supply of water daily on schools’ plant.
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