Wed | Jan 20, 2021

More western schools reopen for face-to-face classes

Published:Tuesday | January 12, 2021 | 12:12 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Grade four students preparing for lessons as they resumed face-to-face classes at the Moreland Hill Primary School in Westmoreland yesterday.
Grade four students preparing for lessons as they resumed face-to-face classes at the Moreland Hill Primary School in Westmoreland yesterday.


More schools across St James and Westmoreland are slated to resume face-to-face classes next Monday as the Ministry of Education continues its systematic drive to bring students back to the physical classroom after almost a year’s absence due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, several St James schools – including Corinaldi Avenue Primary, John’s Hall Primary, Niagara Primary School’s Infant Department, and Chatsworth Primary – opened their doors to face-to-face classes. Over in Westmoreland, Moreland Hill Primary, Beaufort Primary, Little Bay Primary, and Salem Primary and Junior High also joined the fray.

Deon Stern-Anglin, principal of Corinaldi Avenue Primary, said that while only 60 per cent of the expected 248-student cohort turned up for classes, the day’s proceedings were quite orderly.

“We were expecting 248 students, but only 150 of them came out. We just brought in grades four, five and six because they were the grades doing exams,” Stern-Anglin told The Gleaner. “Most of the students were brought in by their parents, and the parents saw to it that they lined up outside and sanitised before they went inside. The parents did not try to come inside with them, and they complied with all the rules that we had put in place.”

Leleith Mason-Johnson, principal of Moreland Hill Primary, noted that her senior students who reported for classes were brought in by previously arranged transportation.

“The parents, prior to our reopening, were instructed on what to do. We have two special modes of transportation in the area that they would normally use for their children before this new norm [of social distancing], so they were encouraged to get in touch with the drivers and have them be the ones to pick up their children,” Mason-Johnson explained. “The children were seated comfortably in their spaces inside the transportation.”

Effective communication

Dr Michelle Pinnock, regional director for the Ministry of Education’s Region Four, which includes St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, said that effective communication was key to the day’s activities going smoothly.

“We used communication a lot, in that we had to engage all of our stakeholders, so the parents knew before this morning what the protocols were. Because of that kind of communication, persons knew what was to be expected, and so we did not have any issues in terms of persons not being comfortable,” said Pinnock.

Last month, the Ministry of Education cleared 129 schools across the island for face-to-face learning and teaching this term.