Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, has appealed to parents to be patient with schools when they reopen on Monday, September 21, with adjusted schedules and conditions.
She made the appeal following a tour by education officials to inspect the progress of work done on several schools which were being repaired under the Domestic Summer Programme.
Speaking to the media, Ms. Adamson outlined that the Guidelines for the Safe Operation of Schools in Barbados had been distributed, and noted that during the first week, priority will be given to ensuring children learn about the COVID-19 protocols at their institutions.
“We would want to encourage parents and guardians to be patient at least in this first week of so. We know that there will be things they [the schools] will have to amend, things they will have to adjust. They might have to change the programme at some point in time as they go into the situation. We have actually told them that first week is not any strict teaching; for that first week, we are getting accustomed and making sure you know the protocols,” she said.
The Acting Chief Education Officer pointed out that the protocols were similar to what had been used earlier in the year, but with some additions. The new sections focus on nursery schools and special needs institutions.
Addressing concerns about the wearing of masks during school, she added: “The Ministry of Health and Wellness, led by the Director of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, have assured us that if the desks or the chairs are placed six feet apart the children can remove their masks while they are sitting at the desk. If they have it any closer, the students will have to keep their masks on.”
Students at schools with furniture three feet apart will be allowed to take mask breaks. At all other times, students and staff are expected to wear their masks on the compound.