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Transportation of students a concern for Manchester, St Elizabeth schools

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Transportation of scholars a priority for Manchester, St Elizabeth faculties

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Employees reporter
kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The dearth of dependable and secure transportation has brought about extra issues for some college leaders in Manchester and St Elizabeth with faculties resuming face-to-face courses.

Principal of Roger Clarke Excessive College in Balaclava, George Lewis, mentioned some college students should take as much as three taxis to get to high school, exposing them to the potential of contracting the novel coronavirus.

“We do not have a college bus. Transportation stays one in every of our largest challenges. Our college students depend on public transportation to get to high school and the absence of a college bus is reflecting within the turnout of scholars,” Lewis advised the Jamaica Observer on Monday.

“There may be the inherent threat that’s related to taking public transportation, so that’s our biggest concern. Our academics, too, lots of them do take public transportation, many should take as much as 4 autos to get right here, particularly these coming from Mandeville.

Nonetheless, the varsity, mentioned the principal, has seen a gradual enhance in pupil turnout though not on the tempo desired.

“We began with grades 7, 11, 12 and 13 and the scholar turnout has steadily elevated from Monday, January 4 till now. Now we have expanded that quantity to incorporate grade 10 and we are actually rotating grades 8 and 9,” Lewis mentioned.

Principal of Sydney Pagon STEM Academy Milbert Miller, mentioned “about 90 per cent of our college students journey through contracted buses which was in existence from earlier than the [coronavirus pandemic]”, which the varsity is pleased with. “Now we have had the association since 2014, since COVID we now have been imposing [a rule] that every one college students journey on the contracted buses,” he mentioned.

“Now we have buses leaving out of Santa Cruz, Black River, Gutters, Balaclava and Siloah, the place the majority of our college students are from,” he identified.

Principal of Mile Gully Excessive College, Christopher Tyme, disclosed that the varsity’s bus transports college students from the north-eastern St Elizabeth space of Balaclava to Mile Gully in Manchester north-western.

“We use our bus to move kids from Balaclava, the place they’d have a problem. The opposite areas which might be nearer are simpler to get transportation to Mile Gully,” he mentioned.

“The turnout of our college students averages about 54 per cent and most college students say it’s a problem to come back in for in the future [in the week], as a result of they do not see it as making any sense,” he added.

Heiley Salabie-Knight, principal of Mile Gully Main, additionally in Manchester north-western, mentioned the varsity has sought transportation companies for some college students.

“Now we have partnered with a member of the neighborhood that has the identical measurement coaster bus that the highschool has, and he’s offering transportation for the scholars, morning and night. As well as, mother and father have additionally contracted personal carriers that drops a number of the college students within the mornings and choose them up within the afternoons,” she mentioned.

“Attendance has improved. We now have a number of the college students who we did not have on-line and who did not take part within the pilot [last year]. A few of them are at college now. For others we now have been making residence visits and contacting them through phone calls,” she added.

Principal of Belair Excessive Lawrence Rowe mentioned there was an excellent turnout of fifth and 6 type college students for the beginning of face-to-face courses.

“We had 68 per cent of our college students turning up on Monday of the 191 college students who have been to return for face-to-face courses. The six formers are coming solely once they have a category.

“We might have misplaced fairly quite a few our college students who didn’t return for varied causes. Usually, we’d have about 250 college students however we did not get that quantity this yr. Grade 12 alone, final yr, was 100 college students and this yr we now have solely 40-odd college students,” he mentioned.

With the varsity being positioned on the outskirts of the city of Mandeville, college students are shuttled to high school.

“The one factor we are able to do is to move them from Mandeville to high school. We won’t go into their communities as a result of there are too many to cowl. We do have a problem with the transportation, however I’ve advisable to the mother and father that they carpool both by personal or public transport, as a result of we will not help in that regard by way of the transportation; there are simply too many areas to cowl,” he mentioned.

“I’ve college students coming from Trelawny, St Ann, Clarendon and St Elizabeth,” he added.

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