The hiring of monitors in primary schools to assist in ensuring that children practise physical distancing during breaks and lunch hour, as well as before and after school, should soon be a reality.
Parent monitors, a new feature alluded to by Governor General, Dame Sandra Mason, in the recent Throne Speech, was on Monday hinted at by Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, as coming within a fortnight.
The Minister, in providing media representatives with an update on Day One of the new Academic Year 2020-2021, at the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael, noted that such persons could be expected in place across the various schools, in at least two weeks.
Explaining the rationale behind it, Ms. Bradshaw stressed: “Obviously, we have looked at the various schools and tried to identify schools that are large and may require additional support; and I think there are a few that are over, for instance the complement of over 500 on the school roll.
“So, obviously, they will have an additional complement of support and we have been working through with the ancillary staff to be able to better deploy them across the system.
“There have been some changes; I think some people have been redeployed; in some cases, we are trying to put in a few persons where we recognise that there are some challenges but that again is a work in progress because again, we’re working with the timetables that the principals have put forward to us to be able to reschedule the school day in a way that is practical to all concerned.”
Addressing a concern, expressed by parents with more than one child at various institutions, of having to balance the ability to manage the timetables, Ms. Bradshaw noted the Ministry was revisiting the issue and trying to work with principals to see how it could be fine-tuned. She also disclosed that the Ministry was continuing to distribute devices during the course of this week with feedback coming in from the respective principals. She pointed out that there may be some students who having had a device during the summer for whatever reason may not now possess one and it was important that the Ministry of Education respond to these needs.