Mechanism to reopen all WP schools in two weeks

Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday said the Government is going to create a mechanism to reopen all schools in the Western Province within two weeks.

The Minister was speaking while participating in a media briefing held at Water’s Edge, Battaramulla.

He said that the entire programme with regard to the reopening of schools has been done in a structured way. We have gone forward step by step and now we feel that we have reached a position where even schools in all of the Western Province’s three districts - Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara can be opened without undue risk.

We are proposing within the next couple of days to have a meeting with the health authorities and the members  of the taskforce with the participation of the Governor to make comprehensive arrangements for the reopening of schools for all grades in the entirety of the Western Province apart from areas which have been locked down.

It is our intention to implement this programme with due regard to health protocols and it is our expectation that it would be possible to implement this within the next couple of weeks. We also think that there will be a significant transformation of the mood of the country when a vaccine is made available to our people probably about the second week of February.

The vaccine manufactured by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca should be available at that time and that is certainly going to generate some more confidence in our people.

That will transform the environment not only in the education sector but also across the board. These things don’t happen automatically; they require a great deal of hard work and dedication. Without exaggeration everyday a committee that is presided over by Presidential Senior Advisor Lalith Weeratunga is going into this matter to make very systematic arrangements for bringing the vaccine in to the country.

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, State Ministers Dr. Sudharshani Fernandopulle and Dr Channa Jayasumana, Secretary to the Ministry of Health Maj. Gen. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, Director General of Health Dr Asela Gunawardane and many others are working day and night to make this vaccine available to our people.

“As part of the overall scheme we are planning the reopening of schools. It is the wish of the parents of this country to ensure their children are provided with the opportunity for education without any interruption and that is the expectation that we as the government are committed to fulfill,” he said.

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