Regional Director in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information – Region Four – Dr. Michelle Pinnock, says by the end of this week, a total of 34 schools should be reopened for a mix of face-to-face and remote learning in the region.
In an interview with JIS News, she said that as at Friday, January 22, there were 27 schools in the region employing face-to-face instructions and remote learning.
The Region covers Hanover, St. James and Westmoreland.
She noted that primary-school students in grades four to six, who are slated to sit the upcoming Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations, will take part in the face-to-face lessons.
Meanwhile, Dr. Pinnock told JIS News that the Education Ministry has been working in tandem with the Ministry of Health and Wellness every step of the way to ensure the safe reopening of schools in the region.
“We partner well with the Ministry of Health; we are in contact with the persons in charge of each of the parishes and I try to keep them abreast as to what is happening, so we have a great partnership going,” she said.
“The public health inspectors are in the schools daily, and the health promotion officers are also in the schools working with the teachers, doing sessions with the students. So, the partnership is there and they make sure that they evaluate us on a continuous basis to see how it is that we are doing with the protocols. They go into our schools announced and unannounced, so they give us the feedback; they ensure that we follow the different protocols,” Dr. Pinnock added.
The Regional Director said that prior to a school reopening in the region, the Ministry must first complete two important pieces of documentation. The first document speaks to logistics and determines how many students can be in classrooms and elsewhere on the school premises, in adherence to social-distancing protocols.
“The logistics document is very important because it helps us to do the groundwork as it relates to planning and organising,” she said.
The second document, Dr. Pinnock outlined, is the 10-point implementation plan of what is expected of schools when they reopen. Meetings are held with parents to discuss the plan prior to the reopening of a school in the region.
She told JIS News that the region has a feedback system, which involves reopened schools giving a weekly report to the Ministry about any issues that may arise during that week.
Dr. Pinnock further noted that the region takes the blended approach to learning seriously, as it promotes independent learning among students.
“We are trying to promote self-discipline as it relates to their schoolwork, so we are not just taking them back into the school setting face-to-face for them to complete a syllabus, we are taking them in to also get the attitude of becoming independent learners,” she said.
Several schools across the island resumed face-to-face learning on January 11.