Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Millicent DaCosta, says she is pleased with the progress of face-to-face classes at Moneague Primary and Junior High.
The St. Ann-based institution is among 17 primary and secondary schools across the island that are participating in the two-week pilot programme, which got under way on Tuesday (November 10). School plants have been closed since March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Speaking to JIS News on Wednesday (November 11), Ms. DaCosta said that she is impressed with the attitude being shown by the 300-plus student body, especially the grade-sixers, who are preparing for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP).
“This is the second day of the pilot reopening process and as you can see, we have been having a smooth process so far. The students are being sanitised at the gate, others have been washing their hands using the proper protocols, and having their temperatures taken.
“I am pleased with the protocols at the gate and even more pleased with what is happening in the classrooms,” she noted.
Ms. DaCosta said that the classrooms have been rearranged to facilitate social distancing and students and teachers have made the transition with no fuss.
She told JIS News that while there has been some level of apprehension among the students, who have been away from the school environment for eight months, the general mood is that “they are excited to be here”.
“They just want to try the pilot to see how best it will work so they can get on board fully, and this goes for both students and teachers. Some parents are also a little apprehensive, but they have been very supportive,” she noted.
School principal Patricia Allen, for her part, said that the school “has been preparing for when things would return to normality”.
“We have an excellent support system, which includes our teachers, auxiliary staff, parents and the entire Moneague community,” she noted.
“While our students have been doing online classes, we have been busy ensuring that there wasn’t a breakdown in the system where we would be caught napping and not be ready for a reopening. Once the announcement was made that we would be a part of the pilot project we knew we would be ready,” she told JIS News.
For parent and Walkerswood resident Nickeisha Williams, a return to school for her daughter and only child, Ariel, is not only a welcome reprieve but also a step in the right direction.
“I was having Internet challenges at home and also other challenges in helping my daughter prepare for PEP. I am happy she is back in the school environment where she can once again interact with her classmates. She also understands the protocols and that it will not be business as usual,” she noted.
Students Kerisse Riley and Christian Wilson told JIS News that they are happy to be back at school and to see their classmates.
Kerisse said that she is a little nervous but is excited to return to school life.