Let’s keep pushing, says McConney

Schools received a passing grade today during a tour by education officials as students returned to the classrooms after months of online teaching.

Schools were closed as officials grappled with spikes in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and some of them were used as isolation facilities.

Minister of Education Kay MConney said she was happy with what she was seeing.

“It was wonderful to see how [the students] are adjusting. The children, having met each other online before, when they came in today there was still a little familiarity, so the teachers said they did not notice the amount of crying,” she said.

McConney, along with  Chief Education Officer Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, director of education reform Idamay Denny and other officials, toured schools, including St Giles Nursery, the Erdiston Special School, St Winifred’s School and Ellerslie Secondary.

McConney did not visit them all as she was scheduled to attend the Estimates. However, she said they would evaluate their findings and act on any feedback.

“It looks like the children are ready. We have made this step, let us keep pushing, let us see how the rest of the day goes, let us observe, let us take note of the things that are working well and reinforce those things and the things that are not working so well, let us take that as a gift and determine how best to treat that gift. I am trusting by the end of the day, we will thank God for bringing us this far, and we will step into tomorrow bravely again, ready to redouble our efforts to bring even more students back in,” she said.

Archer-Bradshaw said evidence showed they made the right decision to resume face-to-face classes, based on the excitement of the teachers and students. She said they were open to hear constructive criticism, to create the best possible learning environment for the students.

Transport also played an important part in the process.

Chairman of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport Roy Raphael; communications, information and marketing Officer Mark A. Haynes and director of complaints and legal affairs Craig Banfield toured public service vehicle terminals to get an idea of how the number of children using public service vehicles (PSVs and how they were behaving. Raphael said the numbers were surprisingly lower than expected.

“We went to the Cheapside [St Michael] and Speightstown [St Pater] terminals and will go to the Constitution River Terminal later. We are not seeing the traffic we expected, there was a lot of traffic on the roads but not as many passengers catching PSVs as we would have thought,” he said earlier today.

Raphael said he was pleased to see operators having hand sanitisers in their vehicles. Haynes said they were also pleased to see students wearing their masks.” (CA)

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