Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, during a press conference today, announced that Grades Ten (10), Eleven (11), and Twelve (12) will return to school as of November 9.
“Cabinet has decided that schools will reopen face-to-face for the cohort of students in Grades 10, 11, 12, and for all practical instruction centers and technical vocational centers from November 9.
According to Minister Manickchand, this move ensures that the students are prepared for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination 2021.
“The aim is to make sure they receive the education they need, so they are not life-long victims of COVID-19. So, that their lives would not forever be damaged.”
Manickchand explained that studies from international organizations have indicated a strong likelihood of learning loss and a high possibility of premature leaving, among other issues.
“We are keenly aware that these can cause squandered significant gains of a country, but more importantly, this can ease the results in lives lost, and irreversible damage to the opportunity of all of our affected children, “ Minister Manickchand.
Once face-to-face learning begins, Manickchand said that the school term would need to be adjusted and might see an extended school week. Besides, students and teachers would be on a rotation system.
“Each school and institution will have the freedom of setting its own timetable to get teaching done effectively and may do what is necessary to effectively deliver education needed. Once they comply with the gazetted COVID-19 order,” the Minister said.
She pointed out that, “Textbooks, past papers, digital support, and other materials will be provided to ensure everyone has access to the necessary resources,” while adding that care packages will be delivered to students.
For the other students who would not be returning to school, Manickchand stated that they will continue online learning.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has also engaged the United Minibus Union to ensure that buses are properly equipped to transport children safely. Special arrangements are in place for students who will be residing at dorms.
Since March this year, schools have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, she stressed the importance of every school being prepared to receive both students and teachers in the safest environments.
It is against this background that Minister Manickchand noted that amenities such as running water, adequate toilets, and other related features be available at every school.