JIS News

Principal (Ag) at the Steer Town Primary, Junior High and Infant School in St. Ann, Jacqueline Mullings, says the resumption of face-to-face is going well with no major glitches to report.

Speaking with JIS News on Tuesday (November 9) Ms. Mullings said that the infant department (ages 4-5) reopened with 27 students coming out on Monday (November 8) and 30 on Tuesday (November 9) from a population of 47.

“Even though its early days, we are seeing an increase already,” Ms. Mullings noted. “The youngsters are excited…our teachers are excited…enthused about the whole thing…and everybody is just happy to be back.”

Principal (Ag) at the Steer Town Primary, Junior High and Infant School, Jacqueline Mullings (centre), seen here with teacher Charmaine Bailey (left) and caregiver Karine Christie, interacting with infant school students on the school compound on Tuesday (November 9). Photo: Garwin Davis

 

Ms. Mullings added that while it will take some time to be fully acclimatised to the realities of face-to-face classes after a near 20-month hiatus, the students, based on “what we have seen so far” seemed eager to get back to basics, happy to be physically back with their peers as well as interacting with their teachers.

She further noted that the school has a very good support system and that teachers have been willing to go the extra mile to ensure that the Steer Town Primary, Junior High, and Infant School can get back to normality as quickly as possible, paving the way for the other departments to resume face-to-face classes as well.

“Even though we have been out since March last year, it seems longer,” she added. “These are the formative years… very important years. If these years are not captured and captured well, then we are going to have lapses, and that is certainly something that we don’t want”.

Principal (Ag) at the Steer Town Primary, Junior High and Infant School, Jacqueline Mullings (L), seen here interacting with infant school students on Tuesday (November 9). Photo: Garwin Davis

 

Ms. Mullings also noted that the students were doing online courses during the classroom absence, crediting parents for being very helpful and to make the transition back a little easier for teachers.

She said that even those without smartphones and other electronic devices were facilitated by teachers going into the communities to give students paperwork and prepared lessons, ensuring that they were well equipped to keep up with their schoolwork.

The Principal (Ag) added that great attention is being given to health and safety guidelines where social distancing and the wearing of masks are mandatory and there is also proper care to how students interact with each other.

“We still have to be cognisant that there is still a COVID-19 pandemic out there and that we have a responsibility to both staff and students,” she said. “We are talking about our babies here. We must do everything we can to follow best practices and to ensure that we lead by example.”

Principal (Ag) at the Steer Town Primary, Junior High and Infant School, Jacqueline Mullings (L), interacting with infant school students on Tuesday (November 9). Photo: Garwin Davis

 

In the meantime, Steer Town resident and parent Melonie Simpson said she is happy the school has reopened, noting that “it is a symbol of hope for Steer Town and neighbouring communities”.

”We are all in this together,” she told JIS News. “The infant department has reopened but we are hoping for the primary and junior high sections to be opened shortly. I have three kids going there in all departments and this would be a big break for me as well as for them”.

The phased reopening of schools has commenced for the 2021/2022 academic year with 248 of the 376 primary and infant schools across the seven regions approved for reopening.

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