Heiley Salabie-Knight, Principal of Mile Gully Primary in Manchester; Adrian Sinclair, Principal of Alston High School in Clarendon; and Education Minister Fayval Williams
Some schools which are participating in the pilot programme for face-to-face teaching have expressed satisfaction with activities on the first day of classes.
Mile Gully Primary in Manchester is among the participants.
The principal, Heiley Salabie-Knight, said COVID-9 prevention protocols were strictly followed.
"So when we were actually called upon for this phase reopening, we were pretty much in a state of readiness. We just had a few things to install, for example, the hand wash stations, we had to put those in. Our physical distance markers were already in, and the Ministry of Education provided well needed resources in terms of human resource and furniture, in order for us to be up and running. So the preparation was not necessarily a challenge 'cause we had started preparations from as far back as July," she noted.
She said parents were willing to have their children attend physical classes due to the lack of devices and internet connectivity.
"We found that some students are particularly left behind and so we look forward to this phased reopening in terms of getting the students back into the physical space so we can actually reach all of them. We would want the parents to buy into it in terms of the school, ensuring that all preparations are made to keep them safe and for students to be responsible as well, 'cause they have their part to play in ensuring that they follow all the safety guidelines which we have posted, the signs in the classroom, around the compound," she said, reiterating that all this was key so that a full resumption of face-to-face classes could take place.
"Our students, especially the upper school, they have their PEP exams to do and so we need them back into the physical space so that we can get the ball rolling," she insisted.
Principal of Alston High School in Clarendon, Adrian Sinclair, said he is happy with the turn out of students.
"We had 130 students from lower school out of approximately 322 and we had 106 students from upper school from a total of 218 students reporting today. The attendance in my estimation was pretty good and the students adhered to the COVID-19 protocols. They came in wearing their masks and they were neatly attired in their uniform. They were very orderly, and they attended to every instruction that was given to them by teachers, ancillary staff, and they did extremely well throughout the day," he pointed out.
Mr. Sinclair told Radio Jamaica News that classrooms were constantly sanitised by ancillary staff members and the school also received support from the ministry's regional office.
In the meantime, Education Minister Fayval Williams has outlined how her ministry will assess the success of the pilot reopening of schools for face-to-face classes.
Mrs Williams told the House of Representatives that the result will be used to determine the way forward in relation to that mode of delivery of lessons.
"This evaluation will be conducted to determine the extent to which the reopening of 17 schools during the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of two weeks was done efficiently. It aims to facilitate evidence-based decision making to determine the successes and highlights further considerations that need to be given to the full and or partial resumption of face-to-face instruction for the education system as a whole," she tofld the House.
She said the Planning and Development division of the Education Ministry will administer questionnaires to students and teachers.
"The questionnaires will be shared through the ministry-provided email addresses, the regional school improvement officers, supervisor education officers and general education officers. The population of students and teachers that attend face-to-face classes will be targeted for response. Parents of students will be asked to be present when students complete the questionnaire. All 17 schools will be visited by data collectors and the 17 principals or vice principals will be interviewed," the minister outlined.
Face-to-face classes resumed in most of the selected schools on Tuesday, after being pushed back from Monday because of the effects of the inclement weather.
Mrs Williams said Yallahs High in St. Thomas, and Moore Town Primary and Junior High in Portland, will resume on Wednesday.