KIN, NOVEMBER, FCR
Did we ever think that one day, students would clamour for school? Well, that day is here, as since Tuesday, November 10, 15 schools across the island, opened their doors as part of a two week pilot project of the Ministry of Education. And based on reports gathered, there is great rejoicing from both sides of the classroom.
St. James- Somerton All-Age and Infant School
Principal of the Somerton All-Age and Infant School in St James, Mr Glendon Brydson, said that 62 students and 18 teachers turned out, and that other students will return on a rotational basis.
He said that they had been preparing from September, by implementing hand sanitising stations, putting in physical distancing measures, as well as converting the school hall to a class rooms, and an isolation area.
Mr Brydson added that the school population are fully cooperating, in keeping with the Ministry of Health protocols concerning COVID 19.
The Somerset All Age Principal expressed the view that face to face is better for the students, as they get to meet their teachers. Further, the school has had to be battling Internet connectivity issues, and the lack of devices on the part of students.
One Somerset All-Age Grade 6 student, Donte Johnson, described the face to face school experience, as “Amazing”.
He then went on to summarise the Online Learning Experience, by explaining that some students
were busy being mischievous during classes, as they turn off the video and microphone function, making it challenging for teachers to communicate with them. “It’s good to see everyone…say ‘hi’ to teacher and ask questions”, Donte concluded.
His school mate, Cordelia Stewart, had a similar positive expression. She explained that during Online Learning, she was not able to hear her teachers. Now, she sees her friends, and the learning is better for students.
Manchester & St. Thomas
Over in Manchester, Principal of the Mille Gully Primary, Mrs Heiley Salabie-Knight reported that students are “excited to be back”. She said that it is important, especially for those doing Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Exams to be back in the physical space. Physical Distancing this Principal said, was a protocol they were practicing from before, and that their measures have the Ministry of Health (MOH) stamp of approval.
Now Principal Nadine Foster of Devon Primary, reported that the school resumption took a staggered approach. She added that not all were out on the first day, but soon, all would resume, except for those with underlying conditions.
A similar approach to face to face opening, was taken by the Yallahs High School. Principal, Mark Malabver, said that for the first week, only the Grade 11 students would return, and the time would be used to create awareness among the students, about the school’s expectations. Additionally, this would be a testing period for the system. By the following week, more students would return, he said.
Rigourous Evaluation of Schools by Education Ministry
In the meantime, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, says that a rigorous programme has been put in place for the monitoring and evaluation of the face-to-face classes, which are being piloted in 17 schools.
“This evaluation will be conducted to determine the extent to which the reopening of the 17 schools during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic… was done efficiently,” Mrs. Williams said. She then reported that it was a “smooth start” for 15 of the 17 schools selected for face-to-face teaching.The pilot was initially set to begin on Monday (November 9), but, due to heavy rains, was postponed to November 10.JIS reports Mrs. Williams saying that the schools will have a staggered resumption with different year groups reporting on different days. According to her, high schools and a few of the primary schools will utilise the rotational approach guided by the blended learning.The blended approach, involving online classes, audiovisual means (television, cable network and radio) and the provision of learning kits, will continue to be utilised by all schools, including the 17 pilot institutions, if needed, the minister added.
Editor’s Note: What a day of rejoicing that shall be, when our soon coming King, Jesus Christ returns! See how happy the students and teachers are for face to face school! Well, when our Saviour returns, the only phrase to describe the feeling will be: “ We glad bag buss!” (Our happy bag overflows!)1 Corinthians 15:52 “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”
TVJ news, November 11, 2020
Conatct Carmen Barrett