In order to suffocate the spread of the COVID-19 virus breakouts at government institutions, for the new school year, the Ministry of Education will be mandating all unvaccinated teachers to be tested once per week.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday in Providenciales, to update the country on government schools reopening plans, Taylor said the tests will be done through the antigen mechanism. She said the teachers would be tested prior to the start of the school year and every week while school is in session.
“We will be testing teachers prior to August 23rd, and that testing now takes the form of an antigen test. With the antigen test we can get a quicker response. They would be tested again once per week, every week,” she affirmed.
Taylor pointed that when the Ministry of Education announced that it would conduct weekly testing for unvaccinated teachers, the educators reached out to her and the Ministry of Education requesting that the testing be done on Fridays, and so government was seriously considering the bid.
“So, we are taking that into consideration. Because what happened is that should a student test positive for COVID, what can happen is that we can have ample time for the deep cleaning over the weekend instead of having students staying out of school for any lengthy period of time.
Taylor revealed that there were 393 teachers registered in the government primary and secondary school system. Of that number, 246, representing 63 percent are fully vaccinated. But she wants the number to increase.
“Sixty-three percent is good but not good enough, because we want to ensure the safety, not just of the teachers but also of the students, and all those involved in the education aspect.
“So, we are encouraging our teachers at this time to get vaccinated,” Taylor urged, pointing to the fact that majority of teachers who have been vaccinated did so leading up to the close of the last school year.
“Majority of Teachers vaccinated between May and June. This is not saying that I am pleased. I am encouraging us to get vaccinated,” she said.
Minister Taylor, in the meantime, gave kudos to the Louise Garland High School, formerly the Long Bay High School and the HJ Robinson High School, who have an overwhelming vaccination rate of teachers.
“The Long Bay High School, which is now the Louise Garland High School has 35 teachers and all 35 teachers are vaccinated. HJ Robinson has 49 teachers, 43 of those are fully vaccinated,” she beamed.
The education minister believes that the schools that have successfully encouraged the majority of their teachers to get vaccinated primarily has to do with effective leadership at those institutions.
“Leadership is important. So, I want to congratulate the principals of those schools for the effort they have made in ensuring that their staff are vaccinated,” she said.
In the meantime, the minister told NewslineTCI that government was willing to assist private school teachers to get vaccinated if they wish to do so. She therefore, urged them to take their COVID-19 shot, to put the country on the path of herd immunity.