By Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): We are now officially in the month of September, the month known as back to school month.
Considering the state of affairs as it pertains to life in the time of COVID-19 and the reopening of schools, the Federation’s teachers began training in August, for the new school term and new school protocols which include social distancing.
During the Tuesday (September 1) broadcast of the program Leadership Matters, the Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture Jonel Powell addressed the reopening of schools and the new protocols that have been finalized. Teachers are expected to report to work on Monday (September 7) while students are expected to report for classes on Wednesday (September 9).
“It has been a challenge but the Ministry of education has a very competent team at its helm and very dedicated teachers and other staff who are all focused on ensuring that the schools in St. Kitts and Nevis open next week in a healthy and efficient manner…”
He went on to express that the ministry is working to ensure that the teacher, staff and students have the necessary support in this school year with special emphasis on the students as the priority.
Later during the broadcast, a question was raised surrounding the confidence of the Ministry of Education in the reopening of school. Powell expressed that he is very confident in the ministry’s plan given the amount of work and collaboration poured into this endeavor. He also went on to give a snapshot of some details of the new protocols to be made fully public on Wednesday (September 2).
“It is a document that has been put together based on a lot of input from all of our stakeholders around the Ministry of Education… It [is] basically set out in three areas.
Part A outlines the structure of the school year 2020-2021 and provided all of the various dates, important academic dates, the start and end dates for the different terms and different education dates of significant importance.
Part B describes the logistical arrangements for school operations and speaks to all of the things we are putting in place to ensure that the teachers and other ancillary staff are trained and continue to be trained not just in COVID-19 protocols but also in relation our E-learning platforms that we are also using in a blended learning situation.
And then part C gives the health and safety protocols that we have adopted and will put in process in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He went on to explain that some schools will be on a shift system or staggered time system because of their larger population to make sure that the schools are not overpopulated.
The high schools that are on the shift system are the Washington Archibald Highs School, the Basseterre High School and the primary schools are the Beach Allen Primary School, The Dr. William Connor Primary School, The Sandy Point Primary School, the Tucker Clarke Primary School, and the Cotton Thomas Comprehensive School.