One-third of western schools back to face-to-face classes
Dr Michelle Pinnock, director of Region Four in the Ministry of Education, says a total of 49 schools, or approximately 33 per cent of the 145 listed public schools in St James, Hanover and Westmoreland, have reopened for face-to-face classes. According to Pinnock, this week another 15 schools have been added to last month’s total.
“In Region Four, we are adding to the 34 schools – five high schools; two in St James, two in Westmoreland, and one in Hanover – and we are focusing on the exam cohort, that is, grades 11 to 13,” Pinnock told The Gleaner on Monday. “In the primary level, we have a total of 10 schools.”
“We have four additional schools in St James – Irwin High, Cambridge High, Garlands Primary and Vaughsfield Primary,” Pinnock added.
In Hanover, the picture is not as bright as in the other western parishes, as Rusea’s High is the lone high school that has reopened this week.
“Students at Rusea’s High in grades 11, 12, and 13 returned to a blend of face-to-face and online classes,” explained Pinnock, who has been working closely with the schools in a bid to get them into a state of readiness, as more and more schools are seeking to break away from the COVID-19-induced virtual learning.
On Monday, six additional schools restarted face-to-face classes in Westmoreland, where COVID-19 was rampant last year, forcing the Government to introduce tighter curfew measures as the number of coronavirus cases surged past the national average.
“In Westmoreland, Maud McLeod High grade-11 students have returned to their physical classrooms, and at the Manning’s School, grades 11 to 13 students will this week be re-engaged in the face-to-face classes,” explained Pinnock.
Of the 15 newly reopened schools in the region, Claremont Primary School will cater to students in grade six; Upper Rock Spring Primary School, grades five and six; and Cave Valley, grade six. Lucea Primary School is only accommodating their grade-six students.
“The region added five high schools and 10 primary schools from St James, Westmoreland, and Hanover as part of the phased and blended approach being applied for the reopening of schools,“ stated Pinnock. “At the primary level, at Revival, students in grades five and six are also back in their schools’ physical learning environment. New Roads and Strawberry primary schools are also back and doing face-to-face classes.”
According to Pinnock, while high-school students are using their return to face-to-face classes for their external examination preparations, at the primary level, students across the region are being prepared for their Primary Exit Profile test, which is now rescheduled for March 25.