Press conference by the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training – April 21, 2022. (PMO)

Parents across the island are being urged to lend more support to the school system in the upcoming term that starts April 25, for teachers and April 26, for students.

The advice came on Thursday as the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training participated in a virtual press conference that addressed procedures for the safe return to face-to-face school in Term Three of the Academic Year 2021-2022.

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, commending the previous efforts by parents, said: “I know that many of you helped and did your part last term; I want that even more of you do your part, this term.”

Noting first that some students would be accessing classes on a rotational basis, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw appealed to parents to check schedules issued by schools, to ensure their children were sent to school only on the days allotted for attendance.

“Parents, I am going to ask you to be extremely vigilant. Please check the schedules to ensure that the days that you have dressed your children for school are the days that they are supposed to go to school,” she urged.

Explaining why this was necessary, Dr. Archer-Bradshaw said that last term the Ministry found some parents decided to send their children to school every day although they were not required to be there and even though, for example, “they knew that the child was only required to go to physical school three times in the week”.  

While she emphasised that this places undue stress and pressure on the school, teachers and the principal, she warned it also meant that space had to be found for the child, which may not be readily available.

“The child may have to sit outside; and, you don’t want that for your children and I don’t want that for your child either. So, I am going to ask you to pay attention to that,” said the Ministry official.

Additionally, parents were cautioned against providing only one mask to children when going off to school. Warning that the mask may drop or something else may happen to it, the Chief Education Officer instructed that children be given at least three masks.

While also commending teachers and support staff for their level of vigilance in dealing with situations of illness on the school compound, Dr. Archer-Bradshaw lamented that last term saw some parents sending children to school sick. Pointing out that this was, however, dealt with appropriately, she pleaded with parents not to repeat that action.

She said: “Help us to help you. Check your children before they leave home. If you know that they are sick, do not send them to school. Stay home with them; if you don’t know if they have COVID, take them to get tested and I’m sure that the Medical Officers of Health will give the advice that is needed to ensure that the children bounce back and they are ready to come back to school.”

The Chief Education Officer, acknowledging that children may not have COVID but may be home for some other reason, reminded parents that the medical certificate was still a requirement for children to return to school. And, she stressed: “If your child has been out of school for three days or more, you have to take to the school a medical certificate.”

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