by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): A top education official is calling on the authorities to classify staff of the ministry as essential workers as students in fifth form prepare to sit annual exams.
Before the Governor-General announced a State of Emergency on Tuesday (June 15) with stricter measures on St Kitts, a lockdown was already in place that restricted movement during the daytime and a lockdown from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
“It’s probably prudent for me to put a plug here at this time in terms of the movement of the officers who will be functioning during this period … for the upcoming SRO when it’s published for Education to at least be added as essential workers for the remainder of the examination period. So up until August 12, when the CXC examinations close proper it would be useful, and assist us in our movement if we are added to function in that capacity,” stated Mr. Solomon Claxton, Local CXC Registrar at a press conference held on June 14.
The new regulations published Tuesday do not spell out that the ministry of education’s staff tasked with monitoring exams are essential workers.
Statutory Rules and Orders (SRO) 24 of 2021, do not list education officers under the Essential Workers category.
Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Education, Mr. William Hodge, at that press conference, also spoke to the ministry’s priorities about students who are attending classes remotely.
“The focus is on our 5th Form students, those students who would have spent the last five or six years going to school every day, studying their work, doing assessments, and now they are at the point where they have to be examined by the Caribbean Examinations Council,” he said.
Oral exams for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) run from June 15 to June 25, 2021. The other papers for CSEC and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) will be administered from June 28 to July 30, while the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCLSC) exams are scheduled for August 09 to 12.
The ministry has advised that school buses will operate at half capacity and has urged students to maintain physical distancing at all time
Parents/Guardians with private vehicles are advised not to pick up people en route (on the road) but to only transport members of the household.
At the exam venues, students are expected to complete a COVID-19 symptom survey, to use a hand sanitizer, and to have their temperatures checked.
The National COVID-19 Task Force and the ministry of education collaborated on the measures to be implemented for students and proctors as the country continues to battle the virus.