GUYANA: Unvaccinated teachers, parents locked out of Essequibo schools

– Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) threatens to act

Sep 07, 2021 –Kaieteur News – The first day of school was off to a bumpy start for a number of unvaccinated parents and teachers who were locked out of schools within Region Two. The lockout follows a recent amendment to Section 17 of the COVID-19 regulations, which stipulates in part that persons without proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test result will not be granted access to any public buildings.

 

When asked what course of action the union is prepared to take, should the issue persist, McDonald said, “at the moment GTU will encourage its members to turn up for school, so that nobody can say you did not show up for your work. I’m not sure what we can approach the Ministry with, because of the new Gazette Orders that was put out… We’re looking on to see what will happen on Wednesday, and if the issue persists, we may possibly have a withdrawal from the system, until the matter can be addressed.”   

Reports reaching this publication confirmed that unvaccinated parents and teachers were denied access to schools across the region yesterday morning. When Kaieteur News visited the C.V. Nunes Primary School yesterday, parents, teachers and even pupils were seen locked outside of the school compound. This publication was able to confirm that this situation was the same at schools at Charity, Riverstown and the Pomeroon.

A parent who was locked out of the C.V. Nunes Primary School told Kaieteur News that she opted not to be vaccinated, as she is presently suffering from an underlying illness. That parent, who identified herself as Samantha Peters, said, “when I arrived at C.V. Nunes, a set of teachers and even Grade One children were locked out of the school.”

Peters went on to say, “my daughter is a premature baby, we’re in the sun right now, is 9:38 (am), and we were here since 8… I don’t believe that it is right to get force to take the vaccine. I believe who ain’t want it, ain’t supposed to take it and is unfair because I want to know what grade my child is in and what class she is in and I can’t go in because they telling me I ain’t reach the requirements.”

Teachers who spoke to Kaieteur News said that this move is illogical as even vaccinated persons can be carriers of COVID-19. One teacher, who opted to remain anonymous, argued, “Just because you have a vaccination card, doesn’t mean you don’t have COVID-19. You can be vaccinated and still spread COVID-19 to other people, so I don’t see the sense why only unvaccinated people have to produce a PCR test.” That teacher went on to say, “If a vaccinated teacher walks into a school with COVID-19, chances are that that same teacher can also infect an entire school, just like an unvaccinated teacher.”

Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union, Ms. Coretta McDonald, said that the union is urging vaccinated teachers to stand with their unvaccinated colleagues. McDonald said that based on information she received, some unvaccinated teachers were granted access to their respective schools, with the help of their colleagues.

Teachers locked out – Riverstown Primary School on September 7, 2021

The situation at the C.V. Nunes Primary School on September 7, 2021

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