The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is waiting to meet with the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training to discuss the logistics for the upcoming school year which begins September 19.
“I think essentially what we will be discussing are several issues on whether or not we will return to a 3 o’clock conclusion, what format school this year will be taking on, and whether there will be a blended [approach] or strictly face-to-face,” BUT president Rudy Lovell told Nation Online.
The Ministry of Education set specific protocols to minimise the spread of COVID-19, which included limits on the numbers in classrooms, spacing and a 2 p.m. conclusion of classes. Schools were given the flexibility with schedules, which resulted in some online and some face-to-face classes.
At the start of the Trinity term this year, the Ministry announced that a hybrid approach would be taken, allowing for both face-to-face and online learning.
Lovell is hoping that the meetings happen soon so his members would know what to expect next month.
High on the agenda for the BUT when meetings with Ministry commence, is to discuss a plan to assist teachers who have disabilities.
“One of the things we really want to address going into the new school year is the provision of infrastructure for teachers who may have disabilities. That’s one of the areas we want to focus heavily on this year,” he said.
With COVID-19 heavily impacting the education system for the past two years, Lovell said plans must be put in place to address an expected high level of absenteeism by teachers during the school year.
“The return to school was uneventful in some cases, but in some cases, there were both teachers and students who became ill with COVID-19.
“We will have to find mechanisms to deal with absenteeism, in terms of finding persons to substitute for those teachers who are out ill because it will certainly impact on the delivery of the education,” he said. (AL)