The administration at Anchovy High School in St. James says it was a seamless start to the physical reopening of school on Monday (June 8), for students sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
Government ordered the closure of schools on March 13 as part of efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The CSEC and CAPE are scheduled to begin on July 13, with CAPE slated to end on July 27, and CSEC on August 4.
When JIS News visited the Anchovy High School on Monday, the school’s Deans of Discipline were observed conducting temperature checks and sanitising hands at the entrance to the school compound before students were allowed on the campus.
Students, wearing their masks, were seated in the school’s auditorium and classrooms, with desks laid out six feet apart in accordance with the social distancing measures put in place by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Handwashing and sanitisation stations have been installed at central locations across the school compound and signs erected with clear and actionable guidance for safe operation.
Speaking with JIS News, Principal, Lavern Stewart, said that preparations for the reopening of the institution commenced a week in advance to ensure the safety of 318 fifth- and sixth-form students and staff.
“As soon as we were instructed that school would begin on the 8th of June, we put our management team in place. We sat together and we worked out the protocols, and all the measures were put in place. The classrooms were power washed and sanitised and markers were placed in the classroom to ensure that the desks were six feet apart,” Ms. Stewart said.
“We have two rooms for quarantine, so if [a student’s] temperature is above normal, then the nurse will be called in quickly and the necessary medical protocol will be set up,” she added.
She noted that personal protective equipment (PPE), thermal scanners and sanitation products were provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in preparation for the resumption of classes.
Ms. Stewart pointed out that the classrooms are sanitised by the janitorial staff after each use.
Additionally, the Principal noted that a timetable has been established in order to accommodate “a certain number of students”, so social distancing can be maintained on the campus.
“What we have done is to remake a timetable that would accommodate three or four subjects per day for the first week, because we still have a few students with outstanding School Based Assessments (SBAs), based on the fact that many of them would have been in an area where they did not have access to a computer. So, for the week of the 8th to the 12th, we have a specialised timetable that is concerned mainly with the completion of SBAs,” the Principal explained.
Ms. Stewart further noted that following the completion of SBAs, another timetable will be established for refresher classes.
“From the 15th June to the 3rd July we will have another timetable, which will accommodate all the subjects. We have worked it in such a way that each subject will be twice a week and that will be our revision exercise,” she pointed out.
Meanwhile, President of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA), Sygana Ricketts, was on hand to help the school administration “achieve a smooth start to the resumption of classes”.
Ms. Ricketts said that she was pleased with the health protocols put in place to safeguard the students and staff.
President of the Past Students Association, Albert Ferguson, who also volunteered to assist the school administration, told JIS News that the Association worked to ensure students adhere to the set protocols.
“We are here to ensure that students maintain social distancing and to follow the protocols and hygiene practices. We are pleased with what we have seen and it has been a good day,” he said.