The Health Ministry will review the current number of COVID-19 cases in view of the current vaccination programme underway, to decide on reopening of Western province schools for all classes, a senior Education Ministry official said recently. The Education Ministry has sought clarification from the Health Ministry regarding the reopening of Western province schools for all grades which had been closed for several months. The Education Ministry had initially requested for permission to reopen all classes this month, but the Health Ministry had not granted approval in view of the high number of cases.
“If the number of cases reduce after the vaccination programme, we may be able to grant permission to for these schools to reopen,” a Health Ministry spokesperson said. “we will have special guidelines for the schools if they reopen”, he added. He also said some schools with a large student population, need to take the necessary precautions if an outbreak of COVID-19 takes place, and schools in the Western province would most likely open for the next term, after the O/L exams ended. Education Ministry Secretary Kapila Perera said the Ministry intended to reopen all classes from the primary grades upwards as soon as possible.
He said they hoped to conduct extra classes for students above grade five to cover lessons they may have missed. Under the plan for extra classes, reopening schools for certain classes would be changed, so students can come in later and continue lessons for extra hours, Prof. Perera said. Also under the plan, some schools in the province would be given free face masks. “We are also have discussions with the zonal education offices to decide on other precautions which need to be taken,” he added. Most schools in the Western province had remained closed for the past eight to nine months due to the COVID-19 situation.