Thousands of students in Barbados today returned to the physical classroom for the first time in months.
Term 2 started online in January following the Christmas holiday, however, this week it is back to the face-to-face environment for most students in primary and secondary schools.
Classes were conducted online for months as officials tried to manage the spikes in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
In the north, from as early as 7 a.m., parents and students arrived at learning institutions – some by vehicle, while others walked on the highly-anticipated first day.
There were many hugs and goodbye kisses before hands were sanitised and temperatures checked but the overall mode was one of excitement for students who longed to see fellow classmates.
Among the parents was a proud Richard Haynes, whose son Rakai was attending school at the St Lucy Primary, Trents, St Lucy for the first time.
“I was a little cautious but I find that the children are more eager. I feel pretty ok after realising that we can’t keep them out and I think it is time that they are back to school. I thought my son was going to cry but he was happier than me,” Haynes said.
Over at the Daryll Jordan Secondary, which is adjacent to the primary school, acting principal Ken Layne was busy briefing students and parents on the new norm.
“My No.1 thing is safety and having the students maintain and observe all the protocols. We want that when students come to school healthy, they will also leave healthy. That is my primary concern. We have adequate staff on hand to look after and care for our students. Whatever problems might arise we are capable of handling them and making sure they have the best experience,” he told a DAILY NATION team.
“We want the parents to know that the children are in the best hands and will be for the remainder of this term as we look forward to helping them to experience the joy of education and school,” he added.
A parent who requested anonymity said she was pleased the students returned to the classroom.
However, the parent believes Government should have explored the option of delaying face-to-face classes until next term.
“It was a lot of pressure on the parents. It was a rush and some of the parents do not have the uniforms and the money as well, because some parents have been home. I think the children should have been going back next term where everyone would have the time to get what they need,” she said. (AG-B)