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No face-to-face classes today

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No face-to-face classes today

Yallahs High School has a plan

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 09, 2020

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THE Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is expected to announce a new start date tomorrow for face-to-face classes at select schools, after today’s initial resumption for the pilot was postponed due to weather conditions impacting the island.

The Government’s push to get students back in the classroom is in a bid to find a solution to the difficulties being faced by many since the closure of schools due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

When the date is announced, Yallahs High School in western St Thomas will begin its face-to-face classes with approximately 120 grade 11 students.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, Yallahs High Principal Mark Malabver said the school will engage Pathway three students, which is the group performing less than satisfactorily following the Primary Exit Profile assessment, after starting with grade 11 students.

The grade 11 students have been given priority as they continue to prepare for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination, while Pathway three students in grades seven to nine, he said, have been most impacted by the move to take classes online.

Just over 100 of these students are expected to be in attendance, as Malabver said that they require literacy and numeracy support.

He said, while the school was given a passing grade by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to participate in the two-week pilot, along with 17 other schools, there is a need for additional wash stations to cover the number of expected students.

“What we have there now should be adequate for the traffic we have[ initially], but based on the fact that we are doing a phased model, it’s important that we get [the others] in… to accommodate the next set of students that will be coming in…” Malabver said, adding that support is coming from the Ministry of Education.

Grade 11 students are expected to be at the school for the duration of the pilot.

“For the second week, I’m using a particular model where some students come in, some time for like three times for the week,” he said.

In the meantime, the principal said that he has had extensive dialogue with staff, in light of fears associated with the virus.

A parent teachers’ association meeting was also held, he explained, to sensitise and get feedback from stakeholders.

Malabver was one of three angry principals who told the Observer last Monday that they learnt that their schools were a part of the pilot through social media.

He said he was left “flying in the dark”.

The principals of Somerton All-Age School in St James and Troy High and Albert Town High schools, both in Trelawny, also said that was their experience.

The two schools have since pulled out of the pilot, along with Tranquility Primary and Infant School in Portland.

The schools reportedly pulled out because of logistical, health, and other challenges.

The final list of schools participating in the two-week, face-to-face pilot are Yallahs High School; Steer Town Primary and Junior High School, Chalky Hill All-Age School, and Moneague Primary and Junior High School in St Ann; Somerton All-Age and Infant School in St James; Newcombe Valley Primary School in St Elizabeth; Morgan’s Forest Primary and Infant School, Garlogie Primary and Junior High School, Alston High School, and Kemps Hill High School, all in Clarendon; Mile Gully Primary School and Devon Primary School in Manchester; Chatsworth Primary and Infant School in St James; Chantilly Primary School in Westmoreland; Bethlehem All-Age and Infant School and Ballards Valley Primary School in St Elizabeth; and Moore Town Primary and Junior High School in Portland.

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