The administration at the Anchovy High School in St. James has instituted two helplines to provide technical and counselling support to students and parents who are facing challenges with online learning.
Principal of the institution, Lavern Stewart, told JIS News that the technical helpline was implemented at the start of the new school term in October, and since then, several calls have been received from parents experiencing difficulties accessing learning platforms.
She said that teachers have been working with parents to address the challenges, noting that the frequency of calls has been reduced.
“In the last week and a half, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of persons who have been calling. The line was ringing off the hook within the first two to three weeks. They called with whatever it was that they were experiencing and they got the assistance,” Ms. Stewart noted.
She told JIS News that in addition to the helpline, students and parents have cellphone access to each grade coordinator in order to ensure that the virtual teaching and learning process is as seamless as possible.
“Also, the grade coordinators would call the students if they notice that they may not see them [online] for a day or two, to find out what the issues were. So that was an excellent idea and it was very fruitful and productive,” Ms. Stewart noted.
She said that the helpline number, 876-346-7996, will remain open throughout the period of online learning.
As it relates to the tele-counselling line, which was put in place a few weeks after the start of school, Ms. Stewart told JIS News that the objective is to help students and parents cope with the stress and anxiety of online learning.
She said that persons who may be experiencing psychological issues can “speak to a counsellor, who will just reassure them to ensure that they are not too overwhelmed”.
“We know that this is a stressful period for parents as well as students. It is something that they’re not accustomed to, and we have had as teachers to surrender some of our responsibilities to facilitate the parents, because we want them to be able to manage their children and to work with us to facilitate the process of teaching and learning.
“If they feel that they are overwhelmed and it is too much for them, we ask that they speak to one of our counsellors on our tele-counselling line and that is 876-533-4164,” the Principal said.