Adrian Sinclair, Principal of Alston High School in Clarendon and Paul Morgan, Principal of Cross Keys High School in Manchester
Secondary school principals have shared information which confirms that the disruption of face-to-face classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a large number of students to remain unaccounted for in the school system.
They are reporting that less than half of their students are showing up for online classes and many of those who log in eventually fail to remain online.
The Education Ministry on Tuesday reported that 26 per cent of students are still unaccounted for in the education system, even though this number is an improvement over last year.
Principals are growing concerned about what will happen to students for the remainder of the term.
Adrian Sinclair, Principal of Alston High School in Clarendon, said his school population is at 490, but only approximately 35 per cent or about 172 students are engaged online on a consistent basis.
"We have approximately 318 students who are not engaged from our enrolment.... We have tasked the guidance counsellor and the dean of discipline to go out and we have have been contacting families by telephone as well, and we have seen some improvement. But there are days when the number will fluctuate," he outlined.
Paul Morgan, Principal of Cross Keys High School in Manchester, shared a similar situation of dismal and fluctuating numbers in student attendance.
"For example, on a daily basis, of the 353 that are registered now, we may have...some days 145, another day we might have 155, and sometimes it drops."
"And so, we have to be looking at funds to see how we can help to purchase data to help to keep those online, we have to be looking, for example, (at) those who don't have tablets and gadgets, a donate a devise programme from our stakeholders to help partner with us to get them online," he explained.
Both principals were speaking on Tuesday on Radio Jamaica's Beyond The Headlines.