Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is pleased with the functioning of schools across the country during the two day strike action called for by the SVG Teachers Union against the government’s vaccination policy.
On NBC radio yesterday Prime Minister Gonsalves said the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education advised him on three occasions Tuesday that schools were opened and functioned well with teachers who were expected to turn up for face to face instructions showed up overwhelmingly.
Noting that there are about 200 teachers who have not yet taken the COVID-19 jab, PM Gonsalves said of this number 45 have sought medical exemption and about 150 religious exemption. He however noted that 133 of the 150 teachers who have sought exemption on religious grounds have been advised that their request has been denied.
The prime minister said the statistics show those who are not vaccinated are in the minority and therefore will not prevent schools from operating and in any event he was advised that 91 persons have been recruited temporarily to fill any vacancy.
Prime Minister Gonsalves said while he understands that some teachers may feel the need to show solidarity with their colleagues who are not vaccinated for various reasons, they must understand that their primary obligation is the health and safety of students and for their education. He said he wish something else could have been done in order to protect students in this period of COVID however he is 100% satisfied that his government has been reasonable with its regulations and requirements for vaccination.