Western Ja schools report good resumption of face-to-face classesTuesday, May 11, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS AND
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Educators in western Jamaica say there was a smooth start to yesterday's resumption of face-to-face classes for students who will be sitting this year's exit exams.
Last week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced the resumption of face-to-face instruction for primary and secondary school students sitting the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Ability Test, the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), as well as the City & Guilds and National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) exams.
Vaccianna Moseley, principal of Green Island Primary School in Hanover who has 102 students scheduled to sit exit exams, said his school was fully prepared for yesterday's resumption of classes.
“We were approved by the Ministry of Health in January and we have been preparing for today [yesterday]. So, as such, we are very much equipped, with half our grade six coming in on a rotating basis,” Moseley stated, adding “We have our full staff.”
He noted that the school has representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security assisting with sanitisation, among other things.
Garfield James, principal of Little London High School in Westmoreland, expressed similar views.
He said the school is open and ready to instruct the 235 students who will be sitting the exit exams on a rotation basis, utilising a timetable.
James also said there were no challenges faced on the first day.
Andria Dehaney Grant, principal of Maryland All-Age School in Hanover, told the Jamaica Observer that there were no challenges at her school. She said eight of the nine students who will be sitting the exams were present.
Dehaney Grant, who is also the deputy mayor of Lucea, disclosed that even though the students turned up with their masks and followed COVID-19 safety protocols, efforts were made to remind them of the importance of following the measures.
Similarly, Lesga Miller, principal of Chatsworth Primary and Infant School in St James, noted that everything, including COVID-19 protocols, were in place at his school.
Miller said Chatsworth Primary and Infant had started to make preparations from last week to accommodate the 10 students who will be sitting the exams this year.
Kinsley Bailey, principal of Irwin Primary School, also in St James, said his administration would be using the opportunity to get students reacquainted with their school environment.
“We are using this opportunity to get them used to the environment…we don't want them to have that shock. When it comes on to exams we have a little fear, so with this situation it helps to usher them back into the school system because they have been out since March of 2020,” Bailey explained.
The school has also established a team to assist the students and members of staff with sanitation and other measures to prevent the contraction of the novel coronavirus or curtail its spread.
“We have a COVID-19 team that ensures everything is in place. They are observing the students' movements. We ensure that at the bathroom there is a janitor stationed there, so as soon as the students are finished using the bathroom they [janitors] go inside and sanitise. We also have a cleaning schedule so they will clean the railings, doorknobs, chairs and desks that they use,” said the principal.
Similarly, at Spot Valley High School in the parish, Principal Richard Thompson told the Observer that he was elated for the face-to-face classes as he noted that some of his students need hands-on learning and face-to-face interactions.
“This means a lot...because our students are very special and we needed this in order to get them fully ready for their exams. It is just a need for them. We have a lot of students that learn better with face-to-face interaction and hands-on learning,” Thompson said.
He revealed that his students are happy to be back in school and are complying with the COVID-19 safety protocols put in place by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“They are ready to go and they are happy to get the chance to be back. They are also very compliant with the protocols and are just ready to learn,” he said.
The principal also noted that wash stations and automatic hand sanitising machines have been strategically placed around the school compound to ensure that the students and members of staff have the amenities to keep their hands clean, in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
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