Parents, guardians welcome school reopening

—continuing preparations

As the reopening of schools for students in Grades 10-12 and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions draws near, the Ministry of Education has prepared over 33,000 care packages for students and teachers.

In addition to this, it has installed sanitation (hand washing) stations in all schools and has ensured that teachers, parents and other stakeholders are informed of the gazetted COVID-19 measures.

While the Ministry is doing its part, parents and guardians are also getting their children ready for Monday’s reopening.

DPI took to the busy streets of Georgetown on Friday, where we spoke with Ms. Shonis Phill as she shopped for her son, who is now transitioning to Grade 10. She lauded the Ministry’s initiative, even as she explained that the current work mode is challenging.

“I think it’s a good gesture because some of the children are not getting the work online. For example, my son, I had to be calling and texting and so forth to get stuff for him,” she said. 

So far, the mother said she has already prepared her son’s bags, books, sneakers and essential items for heading back to school during the pandemic.

Another parent, Ms. Juneann St. Jules said while she supports online instruction, it has been challenging.

“I don’t have a problem with schools reopening because there is CXC happening and the online classes sometimes they stay just so and cut off. I got my granddaughter going back out Monday at Morgan’s [Learning Centre].  She in the CXC class,” she said.

Ms. St. Jules said she believes that face-to-face interaction is the best learning route for her grandchild at this time.

When it comes to preparations, she said the school is already prepared with handwashing sinks and social distancing guidelines are in place.  Additionally, she said, her grandchild “done gah she face mask and then the mother buy a face shield and so on.”

While her daughter is still in primary school, seamstress Ms. Nelvana Singh said she has been helping some teachers and students  to prepare for Monday and she believes that the return to classroom instruction is a good idea.

“Children don’t learn as much as they do [with] face-to-face,” Ms. Singh told DPI, even as she sewed her uniforms in the market.

In her daughter’s case, Ms. Singh said sometimes she is unable to access classes for as long as a week and suggested that the Ministry considers hosting classes in two sessions from 8am-12pm and from 12pm-4pm to accommodate different levels.

“I glad the Form Four [Grade 10] and the Form Five [Grade 11] is opening ’cause I get a daughter who now gone in school and going to the Form Four. She been home a long time,” Ms. Alicia Barker told DPI.

Like other parents, she has also taken the necessary steps to ensure that her daughter is prepared with essential items. In addition to this, Ms. Barker has also been educating her daughter on the COVID-19 measures.  

Meanwhile, Ms. Claudia Brotherson said Guyanese must learn to be adaptable and children must not be left behind because of the pandemic.

“They are young adults and they can be more responsible with COVID-19. […] And it can take away things like teenage pregnancy because remember, they are at home and they are exposed; they are vulnerable,” Ms. Brotherson explained.

On October 31, 2020, Minister Hon. Priya Manickchand, announced the return for TVET and upper secondary students. This decision was taken as many children have not been engaged since schools closed in March due to the pandemic because of constraints including access to internet, television and radio. 

Further, the Caribbean Examination Council has not provided guidance to the Ministry on exams for 2021. Given that the Ministry has no control over these exams, a decision was taken to return to classroom learn to ensure that the nation’s children are prepared.

access classes for as much as a week and suggested that in going back to school, the Ministry considers doing it in two sessions from 8am-12pm and from 12pm-4pm to accommodate different levels.

“I glad the form four and the form five is opening ‘cause I get a daughter who now gone in school and going to the form four. She been home a long time,” Alicia Barker said.

Like other parents she has also made the necessary steps to ensure that her daughter is well prepared with essential items. In addition to this the mother has also been educating her daughter on the necessary protocols.

Meanwhile, Claudia Brotherson told DPI that Guyanese must learn to adapt to COVID-19 and children must not be left behind.

“They are young adults and they can be more responsible with COVID-19. […] And it can take away things like teenage pregnancy because remember they are at home and they are exposed they’re vulnerable,” Claudia Brotherson said.

On October 31, 2020, Minister of Education, Hon. Priya Manickchand, announced the return for TVET and upper secondary students.

This decision was imperative as the Minister said that a number of students have not been engaged due to constraints in the home including internet connectivity, access to television and radio.

Further, the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) has not offered the Ministry clear guidance on exams for 2021. Given that the Ministry has no control of the exams, the decision was also imperative to ensure that Guyanese students are not left behind.

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