With almost two weeks since the resumption of in-person classes, educators in western and northeastern parishes are reporting that all is well and students are happy to be back at school.
“From every indication, it has been smooth sailing so far,” Director of the Ministry of Education and Youth’s Region Four, Dr. Michelle Pinnock, told JIS News.
She noted that students at 86 of the 164 infant, primary and secondary schools in the region, which includes the parishes of St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, turned out for classes on January 3.
“We maintain dialogue and have great relationships with parents [and] the teachers’ associations; we see it as a great partnership. We drew up a logistics plan for the parents and everybody is now aware as to how we are going to be organising the whole rotation. The awareness is high, and the parents are satisfied,” Dr. Pinnock added.
Regional Director for the Ministry’s Region Three, comprising St. Ann and Trelawny, Karlene Segre, said that the children are happy to be back at school.
She said that classes got off to a good start at the 93 primary and infant schools that resumed face-to-face lessons.
“The children are happy to be back, the teachers are happy to be back, the principals are prepared and have worked out their plans and have submitted their plans. As they go along, they will make the relevant modification to the plans, based on the issues that arise,” Ms. Segre told JIS News.
As it relates to the secondary schools, she informed that they remain closed, except for some institutions that have brought in senior students, who are preparing for exams, but noted that they will begin face-to-face interaction at the “quickest time possible”.
“Some high schools are doing the sensitisation with parents, teachers, and other stakeholder groups, just to ensure that everybody is on the same page, and I know that there are staff development sessions going on too. So, it’s just to get people back in the frame of mind of face-to-face work and psychosocial sessions,” she pointed out.
At Ocho Rios High School in St. Ann, Principal Marvin Coulson, said that classes will continue online for January, except for grade-11 students, while at Steer Town Primary, Junior High and Infant School, Acting Principal Jacqueline Mullings, reported things are going well so far.
“We continue to observe and practice the health and safety guidelines, and our children are very happy to be back,” Ms. Mullings added.
Over in Portland, parent Camille McGaw, said that her daughter, Nia Nangle, who attends Titchfield High School, is thrilled to resume physical interaction with her classmates.
“It has been online classes with no physical contact, so we can just imagine how excited these kids are to be back at school,” she noted.
Principal of the Windsor Primary, Rio Grande Valley, Natalie Burke, told JIS News that the students are excited to be back and the first week of operations went smoothly.