Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, has announced that only students preparing for exit examinations are to be engaged in face-to-face teaching.
These include grade-six students, who are preparing for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP), and students from grades 11 to 13, who will be sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) this year.
Minister Williams was addressing a virtual post Cabinet Press briefing on Wednesday (February 24).
The Ministry’s decision was informed by a risk-based assessment of new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
“We continue to input new data that we receive into the [risk-based] model, and as we analyse the data as we go along, we cannot ignore the caution lights that we are seeing from this data,” Mrs. Williams said.
She noted that discussions on the matter were held with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, as well with the Cabinet, and the decision was communicated with the education stakeholders at a meeting this morning.
“We understand that in each particular school, the principals and teachers would have their particular information, but we wanted to share from a global perspective, and to give them the sense of our thinking going forward,” Mrs. Williams said.
“What we would have told our stakeholders is that there has to be an adjustment, going forward, with our schools. So at this time, we have indicated that our schools that are open for face-to-face, are only allowed to have our exit exam students,” she pointed out.
As at February 21, some 41 schools have reported positive or suspected cases of COVID-19.
“The total number of confirmed cases among our student population would be 47 and six suspected cases. Among staff there would have been 23 confirmed cases and 18 suspected cases,” the Education Minister informed.
A little over 400 schools across the island have been approved for face-to-face learning. Of that amount, some 300 schools are currently facilitating in-person learning.