If the in-person classroom experience goes well for forms five and six students, then standard five students will be able to resume physical classes to prepare for the Secondary Entrance Assessment exam on April 12.
Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly told Newsday this at the St James Secondary School, which was the final school she toured on Monday. She had also visited St Augustine Secondary, Couva West Secondary and Diego Martin North Secondary .
“The schools, by and large, have prepared. There is adequate signage all over the schools. Sinks are installed. The students are well aware of what they are supposed to be doing, in chatting with them. They keep their masks on,” she said.
Approximately 35,000 students are expected to resume going to school.
School feeding is available, and where there are cafeterias, the students are encouraged to order in advance and lunch hours are being staggered to ensure there are no gatherings. Deans and heads of departments are also out to monitor the students.
In all the schools she visited, Gadsby-Dolly was told the form fives and sixes are being prioritised over the form fours so they can prepare for exams.
“They will bring the form fours out after that. They are making the maximum time they have now because they have deadlines to fulfil for CXC.”
Gadsby-Dolly said both teachers and students are happy to be back at school and see each other face to face.
To cater for the students’ mental health, student support services have been interacting with the them online since schools closed. All students have in their timetable a period for guidance officers and school social workers to interact with them.
“Today we saw a guidance officer out,” Gadsby-Dolly said, “and she indicated that they also, where necessary, are talking to individual students and having those types of meetings with them so that they are keeping up with their role in preserving the mental health of the students, and also giving advice in school so they could factor things in so that the students are well taken care of.”