Get these kids back into classrooms, education ministry officials say – Jamaica Observer

WILLIAMS… the principals can’t wait to see the children back at school

MONTEGO BAY, St James – Aware that Monday’s resumption of classes in full face-to-face mode will not be perfect, Department for Education officials are encouraging parents to avoid negativity and send their children back to class.

“I would encourage you [parents], if you ever have to take a risk right now, take the risk of sending your child to school. The learning loss is already too great; we just have to catch up,” advised Maureen Dwyer, Acting Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education.

She was speaking at a virtual town hall meeting of parents from the Department for Education and Youth on Friday evening.

Education Minister Fayval Williams has informed parents that the department has already spoken to all primary and secondary school principals “and I can tell you without a doubt [that] they are all looking forward to seeing your child and your children back to school on Monday morning”.

“…It won’t be perfect, but we’re asking you to work with us because we know that over time you’ll start to see the benefits of your child being in the physical environment,” Williams said.

She added: “We know there will be challenges; your students have been away for two years. As they return to the school environment, I know they are going to be excited, but there could be challenges for them, for you, for us. We want to do the best we can for our students but we need you to hold our hands as we go through this time to bring our children back to where they were before the pandemic in terms of education, but also to carry them forward. beyond that because they would have missed quite a bit of time during the pandemic.

The Minister of Education stressed that “technology will remain a permanent part of the education system.

“We will still have all the technology that you were used to in the virtual space, it will still be available. We will also have classes on television because the ministry has its own channels, so those will still be there,” said Williams.

“…So yes, the technology will remain. We’re just going to use it in a little different way than you’re used to when we were in the mixed modality or we were [doing] 100% virtual work.

“The devices are there for your kids to keep, care for, and use to augment what they learn in the classroom. I’m sure our teachers will hire them for homework sessions after school…maybe they won’t be physically at school. I’m sure many teachers will be hosting virtual sessions to help students with various aspects of their work,” Williams continued.

She also alerted parents to the fact that school principals still on staggered hours have had “room to maneuver over the next two weeks”. [regarding] how they organize themselves to recover their pupils”.

“Parents, remember that the ministry would have given them [principals of schools on shift sytem] approval of this window of time to sort out shifts and welcome all our children to school”, advised the Minister of Education.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, while noting that social distancing will pose a challenge, said his department was 100% supportive of the move to full face-to-face learning.

“Everything that’s happened over the past two years has prepared us for this day. And I’m very convinced…I’m very supportive of the decision because I believe our kids need the face-to-face. face, and I believe we are sufficiently prepared for this,” said Dr. Tufton.

“While I agree that COVID is still with us, I’m also very optimistic that living with COVID is much easier to do now than it was two years ago.”

Williams, who informed that in preparation for tomorrow’s resumption, additional financial resources have been allocated to schools to replenish their stock of disinfectants and furniture, also revealed that there will be a new distribution to the 5,000 kits of COVID-19 test that have already been distributed to schools.

“We are preparing to add more to the system because the 5,000 sounds like a big number, but when you think of all of our schools, a school may not receive a big amount. We are therefore looking to purchase additional COVID test kits. Moreover, the next [this] week, we will send 400,000 masks to our schools to help our students,” Williams revealed.

She noted that sanitization and temperature checks will still be in place and implored students to continue wearing their masks.

“We ask, we plead, we encourage students to continue wearing their masks in class,” she continued.

The Acting Director of Education at the Ministry of Education, Dr. Kasan Troupe informed parents that the Ministry of Education has instructed school principals to schedule masked breaks for students.

“What we told our managers is that we should just organize mask breaks in a structured way. We do not want our children to randomly remove masks in the classroom or in their various spaces within the school grounds. It needs to be structured because we still have to remember that we have a responsibility to protect ourselves,” explained Dr Troupe.

For his part, Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Director of Communications Cecil Thoms, who noted that train services will be available for some St Catherine students, said JUTC will use articulated buses, which have twice the capacity of regular units, to alleviate clutter. JUTC has also partnered with sub-franchise operators to increase capacity, he said. Thoms also noted that a number of buses that were out of service have been “returned to service”.

“The long-term strategy is that the government has given us the commitment that in the latter part of this year we will get 50 additional buses which will strengthen the number of fleets,” Thoms explained.

Acting director of education Dr Kasan Troupe said principals have been asked to schedule mask breaks.

DWYER… take a risk by sending your child to school