The Ministry and Department of Education confirm that discussions have been concluded, at this stage, with the Ministry of Health regarding the resumption of school. The Ministry and Department of Education therefore inform all principals, staff, parents and students of the following arrangements for Term Three which begins on Monday 11th May and ends on 24th July 2020.
Several meetings were held with this sector and it has been determined that in light of the differences in the facilities and resources available at each school, the owner of each school will decide whether their school can be safely reopened. Principals will communicate with parents regarding the position at their schools.
To promote social distancing at school, desks will be arranged to ensure there is a minimum of 3 feet between each student. This may mean in some schools that more than one room will be used for each class. Teaching assistants and other teachers will be assigned to assist the main teachers to manage classes. Break time will be staggered to reduce the number of students gathering at any given time. Custodians will actively supervise student interaction at break time.
Three entrances to the Campus B Building will be used. Larger classes will be divided among rooms with tasks assigned by the main teacher. Substitute teachers and members of Senior and Middle Management will assist with the supervision of students in the overflow rooms.
When a live class is being planned, students will be notified in advance. Where necessary, a schedule for live sessions will be shared to avoid clashes. Apart from live sessions, work will be assigned daily (based on the subject schedule) in a manner which allows the students to complete the work at a time which is most convenient for them. Deadlines for assignments will take this into consideration.
Students without devices and internet
The Ministry and Department of Education have sourced laptops for students in need, who do not have access to devices. We hope that the information gathered from our recent survey will validate the numbers we already have so that we do not miss anyone. On arrival, the laptops will be distributed on a loan basis to students. No monetary contribution is expected from parents, unless the laptops are damaged. Additionally, Government has approved the removal of custom duty on the importation of laptops for all primary and secondary school students. If parents are able to purchase laptops for their children, they must send proof of purchase via their school principal, for endorsement by the Chief Education Officer. Note as well that the Ministry and Department have been making every effort to work out arrangements with internet providers regarding internet access for students in need and hope to reach a suitable agreement shortly. In the interim, parents of students without devices and/ or internet access, are encouraged to reach out to their teachers so that work can be assigned.
Health and Sanitation
Each school will be thoroughly sanitized prior to the return of students. Hand sanitizer will be available for use in each classroom. Bathrooms will be cleaned and monitored throughout the day to ensure that they remain in a hygienic state, supplies are replenished and that students are washing their hands properly. Custodians will be specifically designated to perform this task. Desks and frequently touched surfaces will be sanitized at intervals during the day. The interior of school buses will also be cleaned and sanitized daily.
Parents are reminded that children who are sick, coughing, or demonstrating any signs of respiratory illness must remain at home. If such symptoms develop during the school day, the student will be isolated until he or she is collected from school.
Parents of children who were a part of the Department of Education’s meal programme are asked to note that at this time, that programme is being administered by the Department of Social Development. Persons in need of assistance are advised to contact the Department of Social Development.
The Ministry and Department of Education assure all stakeholders that every effort has been and will be made to ensure the safety of students and staff. We look forward to the support of everyone as we resume the teaching and learning process. Parents who have children in the grades designated to return to the classroom and who do not wish for their children to return, are asked to contact the children’s teacher or principal to arrange for work to be assigned and completed at home under parental supervision.
We continue to encourage the general public to remain calm and to follow the advisories from the Ministry of Health. Let’s beat Covid-19 together!
Honourable Cora Richardson Hodge
Minister of Home Affairs and Education
6th May 2020
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