Madame Speaker,

I take this opportunity to update the House on two subject areas:
– the first week of the pilot face-to-face in-school teaching project
– Registration for the eVouchers under the OYOD Initiative.

During the two week pilot, the process is being monitored. The goal of the monitoring and evaluation process is to determine whether the education system can safely return to physical/ face to face instruction fully, partially, or none at all during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is critical that the best practices, challenges, and lessons learned across institutions are identified and shared.
To achieve this, Madam Speaker, the following objectives have been guiding the pilot monitoring and evaluation activities.

a. To determine the extent to which schools/ school leaders manage the processes required for safely operating the physical environment during the COVID-19- Pandemic;
b. To identify the factors that promote COVID-19 safe school operations (best practices);
c. To identify the challenges that prohibit schools from operating in a COVID-19 safe environment.

Purpose of this Report:
The monitoring report provides feedback as to whether the initiative is on track to success and highlights the particular areas of weaknesses for immediate intervention to prevent failure of the initiative undertaken.
Independent data collectors have been contracted and have been visiting the schools to observe the activities and to provide data/information on the six (6) criteria including:

• The school’s management of entry to compound
• Management of the protocols in the classroom
• Management of students’ movements during class time
• School management of break and lunch sessions
• School’s management of medical emergencies
• School management of movement and interaction in clubs and other extra-curricular activities

Madam Speaker, officers from the Ministry of Education Youth and Information also visited the schools to conduct observation of the activities taking place and to provide guidance where necessary.

The data collectors and observers who have visited the schools have since provided preliminary feedback from their observations. The schools are operating a rotation modality and those who were not at school were engaged online.

The high schools opted to have their grade 11 returned to the face-to-face setting while the primary level has students across the grades. Attendance at the high schools during the first week was approximately 52 % of the grade 11 cohort while attendance was low at the primary schools. One such school that has a student population of 128, was reported to have eight (8) students last Thursday and 28 on the Wednesday; – attendance may have been affected by the rain as it rained throughout the day.

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