Dear Honourable Cabinet members of Antigua and Barbuda,
As a parent and a teacher, I would like to advocate for a reopening of Primary schools in Antigua and Barbuda as soon as possible. I am a teacher at the Secondary level, and a parent of a Primary student. My immediate concerns are 1) maintaining healthy Covid-prevention practices while 2) still ensuring our children are learning, and able to engage in an academic environment.
For me in Secondary online sessions, remote learning is not particularly difficult. It is certainly an adaptation, but my students are mature enough to engage with me remotely; many are able to maintain their previous effort and attention to school work.
For my daughter and all of my Primary colleagues, remote learning poses significant challenges. Smaller children have shorter attention spans, less technological proficiency, and require supervision.
The closing of Primary schools has few health benefits, increases parental stress, and asks an almost impossible level of adaptation for our Primary school teachers.
According to the World Health Organization, data currently “suggests that spread of COVID-19 within educational settings may be limited.” When there have been clusters of cases in schools, it has been with older children: “importantly, early data from studies suggest that infection rates among teenagers may be higher than in younger children.”
So, with my sincerest hopes for a healthy and Covid-free country with a well-educated populace, I encourage Cabinet to reopen Primary schools as soon as possible.
Thank you for your time and attention,
A concerned parent and teacher