Antigua and Barbuda reopen schools for face to face learning

The Antigua and Barbuda government announced the resumption of face-to-face classes in all secondary schools across the island. From Monday, both vaccinated, and unvaccinated students are permitted to attend the classes.

The State of Emergency will also be revoked in Antigua and Barbuda before December 27, 2021. The imposed restrictions on the foreign travellers travelling from the countries with a high number of COVID-19 infected cases, including the Dominican Republic, Brazil, South Africa and India, will be lifted in January 2022.

After the weekly Cabinet meeting in a statement, the Government stated that the health ministry would be conducting the sessions with the parents of unvaccinated students to tell them the importance of being vaccinated and urge them not to delay getting their children vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

The statement stated, “all students who attend classes and are still not vaccinated, will be subject to a COVID-19 test every two weeks” and that “there will be no charges for these tests”.

After meeting with the acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), the Director of Education and the Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Cabinet decided that the data shows that 80% of students in secondary school across the island have achieved herd immunity and are fully vaccinated, and face-to-face classes can be resumed on the island.

CMO, in a report, provided data that indicated the decline in the new COVID-19 infected cases weekly to 27 total active cases in one week. 4,129 infected cases have been reported since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the island in March 2020.

The Government stated that the vaccine mandate had also been proved essential for achieving herd immunity among students, teachers of public schools, and private and public employees.

The statement said, “As a consequence, the Cabinet agreed that all public sector workers, whether vaccinated or not, are to return to work on December 1. Those who are still not vaccinated by December 1, will be subject to a COVID-19 test every two weeks. There will be no charges for these tests”.

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