Grades 9 to 12 students return to face-to-face learning

─ ‘Operation Recovery’ to address school dropouts

Scores of students from Grades 9 to 12 finally returned to full face-to-face learning at schools on Monday, after almost two years of online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Education Officer (CEO), Dr Marcel Hutson said this is an exciting moment for both the students and the ministry.

Chief Education Officer (CEO) Dr. Marcel Hutson

“The literature is very clear that face to face education, nothing beats that, and we expect our children to settle in nicely and to do well. We have had a phased reopening because we did not want to create any confusion, and so we wanted to watch and assess the situation,” he stated.

Dr. Huston said the ministry has not ‘abandoned’ its obligations to maintain COVID-19 measures to secure the safety of both students and teachers.

North Georgetown Primary School teacher interacting with her students

“We recognise that we are not out of the woods as they would say and so schools are still required to wear the face masks, wash their hands and use sanitisers. So, all necessary precautions still will be made in terms of the safety and security of all students.”

A document was sent to each school outlining the ministry’s expectations. Dr. Hutson is encouraging all to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of the disease.

St. Joseph’s High School teacher interacting with her students

According to him, the reopening of schools has also presented the ministry with an opportunity to determine the number of school drop-outs through its ‘Operation Recovery’ initiative. The initiative was launched in 11 education districts to recover students at all levels who have been absent from school.

“We recognise that we cannot do this thing alone and we cannot find all the missing students even when we visit all the homes and so on. And so, I think right now if we’re going to be successful, it is important that we have collaboration with all our stakeholders like parent-teacher association and the wider community because we need to find those students,” he noted.

North Georgetown Secondary School students in the classroom

Some 1,300 students were not present at the recent Grade Six mock examination. Dr Huston stated that only half of those students who did not sit the exams have been found, “but we will know now how many because that number can go up or so. Now that they have to come to school, we will have a clear idea.”

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