Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw. (FP)

Primary school students in Classes Three and Four and secondary school students in Fifth and Sixth forms will be heading back to the classroom on Monday, May 3.

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, made the announcement today during a press briefing held at St. George Primary, Walkers, St. George, following a tour of several schools.

The reopening, initially scheduled for April 26, was delayed by one week, to facilitate the removal of volcanic ash from the school plants.

“We’ve said that Classes Three and Four at the primary level would be returning to school from Monday.  At the secondary schools, we have our fifth and sixth form students, [as well as] our nursery and special schools students also being able to return.

“In many cases, there are phased approaches for each of the nursery and special schools, depending obviously on the space at the school, but also in particular with the special schools, we may have children who because of co-morbidity issues may not be able to return to the physical plant. Accommodations are being made with the respective teachers to continue in the online environment and to provide support to them wherever possible,” the Education Minister explained.

Meanwhile, Acting Chief Education Officer, Joy Adamson, stressing that not every student is required to return to the classroom at this stage, said principals were in the process of meeting with their respective parent-teacher associations and teachers over the course of today and tomorrow on the arrangements.

Reminding parents that the new school hours would be 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., she stated: “We would want the students to be there on time, so classes can start at nine.  Some schools have a little earlier start time, you know the arrangement for your school. Generally, we’re saying the duration of school is five hours.  That means that teaching time will stop at 2:00 p.m., and therefore parents will make arrangement for collection of students from that end.”

(FP)

The Acting Chief Education officer also assured that the offsite locations used by some schools for their classes had been cleaned and the necessary arrangements made.

As it relates to the phased resumption of face-to-face instruction for other students, Mrs. Adamson explained that the Ministry of Education was coordinating that aspect and would issue official communication in this regard.  However, she said “in the interim, there are to have all of their classes online”.

“We will continue to give updates regularly…. We’re also updating our website (www.mes.gov.bb) so that information would be out there as it relates to when the students should come face-to-face. And we know those students [would be taught using the blended approach], some days face-to-face, some days online, and that would have to continue until we can get everyone back into school with the physical distancing,” she stated.

Monitors have been assigned to all public primary, nursery and special schools to ensure that the COVID-19 protocols are observed. According to the Acting Chief Education Officer, they would also be “assisting with the arrival and departure of students”.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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