JIS News

Another 383 primary schools have been approved for the next phase of face-to-face learning.

This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, during the sitting of the House of Representatives on November 30.

“These schools are our larger primary schools, some with their enrolment above 630, while others are occupying 80 per cent or more of their capacity and will account for 164,651 students,” Mrs. Williams said.

She noted that these larger primary schools must use the blended approach and/or the rotational schedule given their capacity and enrolment.

“Meaning, some students will be in the face-to-face environment on one day while others are at home, and those who are at home will rotate and come into the face-to-face environment. In any one week, a student must be at school for at least two days out of the week,” Mrs. Williams outlined.

She added that these schools must also be inspected and approved as coronavirus (COVID-19) compliant by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and must strictly observe the protocols in their daily operations.

“All those working in the school environment are expected to be vaccinated given the availability of the COVID vaccines and the special arrangements that have been made to accommodate our school staff,” the Education Minister said.

She added that those who work in the school environment are expected to be present for work once the students are scheduled to be at school.

“Persons with comorbidities are encouraged to get vaccinated and observe the COVID protocols once on the job. Our schools are required to work with parents to determine the start-up date.  This can be a staggered start given the preparation that may be needed at the school level,” Mrs. Williams noted.

Approval was granted for a phased resumption of face-to-face learning for the 2021/2022 academic year for all pre-primary, 376 small primary schools, and for grades 11 to 13 students in secondary schools who are preparing for external exams, to resume in-person learning using a whole day or a rotational schedule.

In the first week of face-to-face learning, which commenced on November 8, 248 of the approved 376 primary schools opened for in-person classes and these schools reported an average attendance of 33,158 of approximately 50,000 students or 66 per cent for the week ending November 12, 2021.

“In the second week, which ended on November 19, a total of 410 schools opened for face-to-face learning and principals reported an average attendance of 40,147 or approximately 80 per cent students reporting for in-person learning,” Mrs. Williams told the House.

Since the reopening, there have been five reported cases of COVID-19 infection among students as well as two suspected cases among teachers.

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