Rabain reinforces safety-first approach

  • Education minister Diallo Rabain (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Public schools will reopen only once it is safe to do so, the education minister has assured parents.

Diallo Rabain said in a Facebook discussion on Saturday night that measures would be put in place to ensure safety in the classroom.

He said: “We will reopen schools once it is safe to do so. We will not reopen until then.

“We take our cues from the Department of Health.”

Mr Rabain acknowledged that it would be a challenge to enforce social-distancing, particularly for younger pupils, but everyone must adapt to the new normal.

He said: “Like everything, once it becomes the norm, once it becomes second nature, we will adapt to it.”

Mr Rabain said the Government had determined how many desks could be placed in each classroom with pupils remaining a safe distance apart.

He said there was no plan to require pupils to be tested for Covid-19 before they are allowed back, but that teachers were being invited to get tested.

The minister said: “We have already sent out notice to all our education staff that if they want to get tested they can go through testing.”

Mr Rabain also said that remote-learning options would be available after the reopening of schools for households when needed.

He said that custodians had been going into schools three times a week to clean and air out the buildings.

The minister repeatedly urged parents to take online surveys about their remote-learning experience so the system could be improved moving forward.

He said the Government had intended to move towards remote learning before the coronavirus pandemic, but had been forced to move faster than it had planned.

Mr Rabain said learning support teachers had joined remote-learning classes to aid students who needed additional support.

He added that summer sessions would be made available for S4 students so they could earn additional credits.

Mr Rabain said: “The details of those summer sessions will be communicated with parents once they are finalised.”