COVID-19 outbreaks have forced the closure of at least two schools on the mainland over the past few days, the Georgetown Secondary School (GSS) and the St Mary’s Roman Catholic School (SMRC).
On Thursday, Minister of Education, Curtis King said a lot of persons in the school system are presenting with COVID-19 symptoms so based on the level of infection and symptoms, management at the schools is being asked to use their discretion.
King said if management is uncertain about how to proceed in the face of rising cases, they should contact the Ministry of Education to determine the best way forward which can mean a return to a blended approach or strictly online classes.
The blended approach is a mixture of face to face and online classes.
On Thursday, a source at the GSS said the entire school had been closed and they have returned to online classes as cases at that institution have soared.
More than 400 students and 42 teachers attend and work at the GSS. The school returned to online learning on Wednesday, January 12 and the source said the possibility exists that they will return to face to face teaching on Monday 24th January once there is a reduction in positive cases and symptoms.
On Thursday also, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Simone Keizer-Beache said that protocols are in place to address rising cases at the nation’s schools and ways they are addressing the issue include returning to a blended approach to learning or strictly online interaction.
The CMO said they have asked each school to assess their situation and determine the best way forward or if unable to come to a solution, contact the Ministry for guidance.
On Wednesday, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) recorded 91 new COVID-19 positive cases from 377 samples collected on Thursday January 6, 2022 resulting in a positivity rate of 24.1%.
Eighty-four new rapid antigen positive results were reported from flu clinics on January 6, 2022 while 61 new COVID-19 positive cases were reported from 344 samples collected on Friday January 7, resulting in a positivity rate of 17.7%. Eighty Eight new rapid antigen positive results were reported from flu clinics on January 7, 2022.
Forty-eight new COVID-19 positive cases were reported from 245 samples collected on Saturday 8, 2022, resulting in a positivity rate of 19.6%. Thirty-nine new rapid antigen positive results were reported from the flu clinics also on January 8.
No new COVID-19 cases were reported from nine samples collected the following day, Sunday January 9, 2022.
On January 9 as well, 22 new rapid antigen positive results were reported from flu clinics .
Fifteen new COVID-19 positive cases were reported from 47 samples collected on Monday January 10, resulting in a positivity rate of 31.9%. One hundred and eleven new rapid antigen positive results were reported from the flu clinics on January 10 as well.
The Ministry of Health noted on January 12, that sequencing results received from CARPHA (the Caribbean Public Health Agency) on January 10, 2022 and January 11, 2022, confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant of concern in two samples taken on December 27, 2021 and one sample taken on December 28, 2021 from persons with no travel history.
Over 6562 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded here since March 2020.
Cases have been on the rise since last month and this week, eight Unity Labour Party (ULP) Members of Parliament tested positive for COVID-19, forcing interruptions to the 2022 Budget Debate.