Wednesday 28 October, 2020

Secondary schools across the island to reopen June 8

Secondary schools are due to reopen Monday, June 8, to facilitate students writing CXC examinations in July.

This is according to a press release from Government Information Service which stated that the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT) has been granted permission to reopen secondary schools across the island once certain health and safety protocols can be fulfilled.

The reopening will afford students of CXC classes who have not completed their School-Based Assessments (SBA) and Internal Assessments for Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) the opportunity to do so.

Schools in Barbados have been closed since March 18, one day after Barbados announced its first two cases of COVID-19.

The protocols to guide the safe reopening of schools have been devised and disseminated to all schools.

These guidelines were conceptualized in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the teachers’ unions and also principals’ associations. It is expected that officers from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, as well as those from METVT, will visit secondary schools with other stakeholders between June 2 and June 5 to ensure that all agreed protocols are in place.

Secondary school principals will be expected to organize schedules for half-day sessions to minimize the number of persons on the school plants at any one time.

The organization for the adequate sanitization of classrooms is also to be undertaken. According to the notice, secondary school students will be contacted by their teachers to learn the days and times they are expected to attend school.

As this week progresses more public service announcements will be shared in an effort to advise students, parents and guardians of the expectations as it relates to the safe return to classrooms across the island.

On May 16, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training Santia Bradshaw made the announcement that Class 4 students at primary schools across the island were due to return to the classroom from June 15.

In light of this, it is expected that similar visits by METVT and Health and Wellness personnel will be made to primary school plants. This will be to ensure that all agreed protocols are also in place for the 10-year-old and 11-year-old students.

Some of the outlined protocols include:

  1. The wearing of face masks by all persons on the school compound at all times.
  2. The sanitization of books, apparatus and other learning materials used by teachers/students or others as needed.
  3. The switching out of face masks. Those masks worn while commuting to school via public transportation must be replaced by a fresh one on arrival on the school compound.
  4. Staggered arrival and departure times for students to limit exposure to crowds.
  5. Limiting the number of students per class to between 5 to 10 maximum per room.
  6. Physical distancing of desks, at least 6 feet apart.
  7. Keeping a record of the cleaning regime of vital areas such as bathrooms on display which will be inspected daily by a supervisor.
  8. The provision of hand sanitizing facilities at all points of entry to the school.
  9. The sanitizing of all desks and chairs used by students and teachers prior to and after each class.
  10. Checking the temperatures of persons entering school compounds with a reliable infrared thermometer.

The complete list of Protocols for the Safe Reopening of Schools can be downloaded here.

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