To Reopen Schools…

The government has taken – some are saying – the bold decision to announce a date for children to return to physical classrooms in Barbados. Some parents have expressed concern why the rush especially for a ten or eleven year old preparing for the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination. 

If the world has to live with Covid 19 until there is a treatment or vaccine, in an effort to protect the vulnerable should attending physical classrooms be suspended indefinitely?

Is it a risk worth taking for the good of progressing as a nation by demonstrating toughness and resilience?

Should we expect our teachers and those with young minds to demonstrate the discipline required to execute Covid 19 protocols to protect themselves?

 

31 comments

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David Bu

    There is not enough information to decide whether the precautionary measures/protocol are adequate. Perhaps you could list them .

    Like

  • teachers are as much baby sitters as they are educators. if schools dont open how are parents going to go to work or get a break from rearing their children

    Like

  • @David

    As the country reopens gradually and more and more go back out to work, children will be increasingly left home to their own devices – figuratively and literally – which is quite obviously undesirable. Consequently, schools must eventually reopen. If as the health authorities across the world tell us, that we will have to live with COVID-19 for some time, then we must adapt every facet of life to that reality. Physical schooling simply cannot be suspended until we are rid of COVID because that would mean an end to school for the foreseeable future. Students will have to sit the BSSEE as that is, at least for the moment, the only way to allocate students to secondary school. Older students have to sit CXC’s external examinations which are continuing. Emergency Remote Teaching, for all of its virtues as a stopgap measure, is not sustainable until certain teething problems can be ironed out. At any rate, I believe the reopening of schools is being overplayed. Only students sitting the BSSEE next month will be going back to school wholesale. Other than that CSEC and CAPE students will only go to the compound if they have to complete certain things. That is at least my understanding at the present time. So only students who absolutely must return will be returning in the next two weeks. Regardless, life must once again continue in every respect

    Like

  • Disgusting Lies and Propaganda TV

    @ Greene The current issue is that the Unions are saying that they were not “involved” in “finalizing” the protocols. But in my opinion schools HAVE to reopen especially if the current stay-at home directives re COVID-19 have been relaxed and are being relaxed approx every 2 wks

    Liked by 1 person

  • @David

    As the country reopens gradually and more and more go back out to work, children will be increasingly left home to their own devices – figuratively and literally – which is quite obviously undesirable. Consequently, schools must eventually reopen. If as the health authorities across the world tell us, that we will have to live with COVID-19 for some time, then we must adapt every facet of life to that reality. Physical schooling simply cannot be suspended until we are rid of COVID because that would mean an end to school for the foreseeable future. Students will have to sit the BSSEE as that is, at least for the moment, the only way to allocate students to secondary school. Older students have to sit CXC’s external examinations which are continuing. Emergency Remote Teaching, for all of its virtues as a stopgap measure, is not sustainable until certain teething problems can be ironed out. At any rate, I believe the reopening of schools is being overplayed. Only students sitting the 11-Plus next month will be going back to school wholesale. Other than that CSEC and CAPE students will only go to the compound if they have to complete certain things. That is at least my understanding at the present time. So only students who absolutely must return will be returning in the next two weeks. Regardless, life must once again continue in every respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ David Bu
    If the protocols have been determined and enforced there is no need to delay reopening the class rooms. We cannot be on lock down indefinitely. It was crisis management not normalcy. We have to step up to the new Normal.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Vincent

    We are sing the same hymn.

    Liked by 1 person

  • On May 24, 2020, the Principal of St. Stephen’s Primary School held an on-line meeting with parents of class 4 students. Since the school’s closure, Class 4 teachers have been conducting on-line 11+ exam preparations classes because schools were closed for the past few weeks. Although these new teaching arrangements were deemed to be successful, the Principal and teachers felt it was important for students to ‘refamiliarize themselves’ with the classroom setting, since the 11+ exams is sat under similar conditions. Hence, it was decided students should return to school for 4 weeks, from June 15 until the date of the 11+ exam, on July 14.

    I’ll mention a few of the other things the Principal discussed. Strict COVID-19 protocols/precautionary measures are to be enforced. School will begin at 9:00AM until 1:15PM, at which time parents are asked to collect their children. This to avoid children playing with each while awaiting their parents.

    …….. Students’ hands will be sanitized and their temperatures checked upon entering the school.
    ……..Ten (10) students are to be assigned to each classroom.
    …….. A desk and chair will be assigned to each student.
    …….. Each child is expected to wear a mask.
    …….. The sharing of snacks, water, food, books, stationery, desk, chairs, etc is strictly forbidden.
    …….. Social distancing rules will be enforced. As a result, playing, hugging, congregating in groups, etc, will also be strictly forbidden.
    …….. A stairway on the west block of the school is for going up to classrooms.
    …….. A stairway on the south block of the school is for going down from classrooms.
    …….. Parents are to provide children with lunch, water,

    Parents will not be allowed to enter the school’s compounds. They are to provide their children with sanitizer, tissue paper, toilet tissue, water, snacks, lunch, beverages, etc.

    Children should limit the use of toilet. Each child is supposed to identify the toilet cubicle he/she used, so the janitor can clean and sanitize it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • What the blogmaster is unable to understand is the claim by the BUT it was not communicated to as a key stakeholder by the MOE. This is mind boggling.

    >

    Like

  • @David

    Just a hypothetical to throw in the mix….

    What if there was a teacher’s union whose president was facing grumblings from some (partisan) segments of the membership because they viewed him as being too cozy with the ruling party of Government and as a matter of fact a no-confidence motion arose also. All of that was somewhat interrupted by a virus which spread across the world. Suppose that union head was making noises so that his membership could be assured of his independence?

    Just thinking out loud in the hypothetical.

    Like

  • BDS Schools Reopening???

    Families and communities need schools to be ready to reopen as soon as public health department, signal it is safe. After all, the nation has recently been reminded just how vital schools really are. Schools connect students with peers and mentors, channel youthful energy into productive pursuits, teach essential academic skills and knowledge, and give overwhelmed parents room to breathe and work.

    This makes it urgent that schools find a way to reopen if at all feasible. Reopening in a manner that is safe and responsive will involve novel challenges. That is why leaders must begin planning immediately.

    What will it take to get schools ready, amid enormous uncertainty? The path to reopening must be based on the public health frameworks guiding the gradual relaxation of the intensive social distancing measures adopted. Any consideration about reopening must consider the wide variability of circumstances in each parish communities, and schools confront. Depending on the public health situation, there may be waves of stopping and starting, partial or staggered openings, or other developments (determined by local health authority, population vulnerability, and more). These decisions will require robust community engagement to yield both coherent planning and community support.

    Underlying Assumptions:

    Education leaders must begin planning now based on the best current understanding of Covid-19 and what is required for continued containment and mitigation. At the same time, this dynamic public health situation requires adaptive planning that can evolve as the science and circumstances do.

    Despite the uncertainty,
    policymakers, school leaders, and community leaders should develop plans based on the following assumptions informed by the most current guidance from public health officials.

    We must also look at conducting classes on the playgrounds, when the weather permits. It gives us the necessary distance needed.

    Remember, we have one of the highest educational standard In the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  • @Khaleel

    To respond to your hypothetical, shameful to play politics in the prevailing.

    >

    Liked by 3 people

  • @David

    I absolutely agree. That doesn’t take away however from the fact that politics is always being played.

    Like

  • Politics can be played however if children are involved outcomes must be positive.

    Liked by 3 people

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    “Politics can be played however if children are involved outcomes must be positive.”… Eh….and therefore does that suggest that at other times negative results are acceptable!!!!!

    The incongruity of the pithy, few words that on deep review do more harm than they first suggest!

    Playing negative politics is never and can never be a good thing.

    Like

  • @Dee Word

    You have a tendency to be literal in your translations often at the expense of the nuance in play.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Once again Barbados leadership is FLAWED, risking the lives of school children, family & general populace because they think Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination, 11+ is that CRITICAL. to expose populace to RISK. This 11+ system is so antiquated it should have been done away with years ago. SAME OLD SAME OLD at play.

    Like

  • We were unable to control the behaviour of many of the school children in the past, what makes us believe that a return to the classrooms with bring with it a change in that behavior? Will there be more stringent supervision of the toilet facilities at each school? Behind the bus stand? What about on the bus to and from school?

    There are families with senior citizens within the household, diabetics, old and young, cancer suffers, heart patients…and the list goes on. What protocols will be put in place to protect those vulnerable citizens from the exposure to danger caused by school children mingling on the way to, at and on the way from school?

    We have to be careful that in a rush to save the economy we do not condemn the drivers of the economy to their death.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    Like most commenters I am concerned about having too early a return to the class room.I was directed to a web site where the protocols are clearly described.Are there loop holes? I see none. Has it been cleared by the epidemiologists? We must trust their judgement.
    This precursive algorithm is getting out of hand now.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Our government is doing everything right medically and socially during the crisis. The schools must be reopened. 2K rightly points out that unsupervised children can do many stupid things at home, such as using their father’s grenade launcher or machete, or their mother’s poison vials.

    I hope our government will also reopen the airport soon. The sooner the better, so that we have a lead over the pepper islands. By July 1st at the latest I want to see full beaches and many British people again, with red roasted skin.

    Like

  • BUT yet to okay protocols
    by COLVILLE MOUNSEY THE COVID-19 PROTOCOLS outlined by the Ministry of Education for the reopening of schools, some from next week, may have to pass more tests to satisfy the country’s largest teachers’ union.
    The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) said its members would first have to meet with principals to determine if their respective schools had the capacity, personnel and equipment to effectively implement the measures.
    General secretary Herbert Gittens told the DAILY NATION yesterday that while the guidelines, which were released on Monday, outlined overarching safety policies, individual schools had to determine if they could be safely put in place. He said that following the meetings which would take place this week, teachers would voice any concerns to their principals, who would in turn communicate with the union.
    For example, Gittens, who is principal at Wesley Hall Juniors in King Street, The City, explained that he might have to use a rotation system in order to meet the ministry’s requirement of ten students per classroom, given that he has 125 students taking the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Exam, also known as the 11-Plus.
    “I will meet with my Class 4s tomorrow [today]. We will strategise and come to an understanding about just how exactly we would be putting things in place. I can tell you that from my end, all of my Class 4 teachers are returning, and we will determine exactly how we are going to do the work. I have a plan in mind and the teachers will determine if they agree with my plan or not.
    Not all on same day
    “I am looking at not having all of the children come to school on the same day because I have 125 children from the school doing the exam, so it is going to be something to the effect of children coming to school every other day,” Gittens explained.

    He made it clear the plans must be further tailored to suit each learning institution, as school plants varied and therefore it was now going to be up to the schools to state whether they could maintain safety, based on these guidelines.
    “My understanding is that the principal is responsible for the day-to-day carrying out of these policies. They are going to use the guidelines and organise the schools in the best way to ensure that the health and safety of the workers and the teachers are preserved at all times. One must recognise that schools vary. You have schools with one Class 4, while others, like Wesley Hall Juniors, have six Class 4s,” he pointed out.
    On Monday afternoon during a BUT meeting via Zoom, several teachers raised concerns about the protocols. They queried how students were to be supervised while going to the bathroom or at break time. In addition, with the stipulation of ten students per classroom, some teachers said they had as many as 30 students in a class.
    “When a child goes to the bathroom, do I leave the other 19 unattended to supervise that child? What is going to happen at lunch? I do not see those children wearing those masks for five or six hours because some of those masks have you feeling as if you are stifling.
    “In the information circulating on social media, it is pointing out that the maximum students should be ten to a classroom and I have 20. There are some persons who have 30 students. So how is this going to work out? Are other members of staff going to be asked to return to the classroom to facilitate what is outlined in that document?” one upset teacher asked.
    Gittens said that while steps were being taken to ensure teachers were comfortable with the measures, gaining the stamp of approval from parents presented another set of challenges.
    “I do not know what the parents are going to do in terms of sending back their children to school. I am planning to organise a virtual meeting to speak with the parents to see where they stand on this issue. It is only then

    we can get a true sense of whether there is contentment with these measures,” he added.

    Source: Nation newspaper

    Like

  • William Skinner

    Once more talking points are taking precedence over one simple question: Are the protocols regarding the reopening of schools accepted and understood by those directly involved in the management of the school plant?
    If there are any outstanding doubts or questions the process should not go forward until there is absolute clarity on all sides. We are here dealing with our children not potholes.

    Liked by 1 person

  • de pedantic Dribbler

    Ahhh @David, reflect a bit…

    Could I not also say ‘YOU
    have a tendency to be literal in your assertions often at the expense of the nuance in play.”

    I absolutely GOT your thrust that preparing this process for the school children MUST be done right.

    Did YOU get mine, that if a govt is being lax and ineffectual with their processes in ANY aspect then they will be so in possibly ALL their helter-skelter planning !

    This point has jumped out at me with several aspects of their management and has been noted before. It is in THAT context that I made the snide remark about the school reopenings.

    Why are they going to be better at that … what special needs do our children’s schooling demand that are different as a fundamental life source to those of us their parents!

    So again I ask bro.. can I not also say “YOU have a tendency to be too literal…” yourself!

    And on the actual issue of school reopenings … this is being done surely for reasons that appear less than congruous to education directly… meaning it’s likely to get the children out of the house so that parents can also move back to the work world unencumbered.

    But as said above it’s fraught with complications … If Bim leaders are convinced they have ALL the protocols in place, then go for it … I have not examined what has been suggested but there are several viable options possible that can possibly work… So let’s get on with it.

    Lata.

    Like

  • 5 to10 students per class room ?

    Hope the plan works .

    A planning and logistics nightmare

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ahh @ Hants

    We don’t have the teachers/space available to remotely implement 5-10 students per class room…

    Like

  • @FearPlay
    There are families with senior citizens within the household, diabetics, old and young, cancer suffers, heart patients…and the list goes on
    +++++++++++++++++
    You are so right, many Bajan households are multi-generation with various ailments, get it wrong and there will be many deaths at the feet of the Gov’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  • If we have to choose between a destroyed children’s psyche due to permanent dropout from school and a merely abstract threat to pensioners, we should choose for the children. Moreover, there are no more new cases of the Wuhan plague in Barbados.

    Therefore: school opening for all children from now on and opening of the airport for tourists from 1 July.

    You can die from the Wuhan plague, without food you will surely die.

    Like

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Tron
    We still have to be on guard for those community centres which might have entertained asymptomatic carriers. But I agree the country needs to get back to work

    Like

  • Our two pillars of tourism, the USA and the UK, are the biggest problem. We cannot allow tourists from these countries to visit us for months yet, because the Wuhan plague continues to spread at a high level there. Especially in the USA the infection curve is flattening out very slowly, much slower than in all other countries.

    If the governments in the Caribbean or in Africa were as bad as those of the USA, we would now have much bigger medical problems.This clearly proves that the old narrative is antiquated: here the dark, dirty south, there the enlightened and successful north. From a social and medical point of view, the USA and to a certaint extent the UK are no longer among the developed states. In any case, many people would no longer dare to enter the USA. It is far too dangerous there. By the way, not only for blacks!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Schools almost ready to reopen

    Teacher liaison Dawn Hyland-Lokey
    (left),
    listening as Luther Thorne Memorial Primary School parent teacher association public relations officer, Laurie Blackman, speaks about their efforts.

    Schools have begun preparations for resuming classes with the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination (BSSEE) scheduled for next month.

    While the gates of a few were closed yesterday, the Sunday Sun visited Christ Church Foundation and Luther Thorne Memorial Primary School.

    At Luther Thorne, the team was told by staff to check with the Ministry of Education for any comments. However, members of the school’s parent teacher association (PTA) were present and public relations officer Laurie Blackman gave an update.

    “We had a work session this morning where we tidied up the storage area. We’re also looking to power wash and paint, just a general freshening up,” she said.

    National discussion

    As for the COVID-19 protocols, Blackman assured all would be ready, such as physical distancing, sanitising and temperature checks.

    “We are part of the national discussion about what it will mean for [primary] schools to be starting on June 15 and this PTA has a long tradition of helping our school. We want our school to be as fresh, bright and healthy as possible because teachers and students already have to deal worth

    a lot and our labour doesn’t cost us anything,” she said.

    Blackman said they recently held a well-attended virtual meeting at which parents aired their concerns and made suggestions. She said the main concerns were about the BSSEE and the best way to utilise technology to teach the children.

    “We want to thank parents for their ongoing support of the PTA and we look forward to continuing to work with them,” she said.

    At Christ Church Foundation, a worker showed the team the demarcations for physical distancing. They said officials from the Ministry of Education were at the school last week and approved of the changes, such as limiting classroom space to no more than ten.

    Three feet apart

    In addition, chairs in the school hall have been spaced at least three feet apart. There is also a newly installed generator to provide emergency power during bad weather as the school is a major hurricane shelter.

    In a Press release, acting Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson said all secondary schools had their classrooms sanitised and were in the process of erecting the necessary signage as they prepared for some students to return to complete outstanding School Based Assessments and Caribbean Vocational Qualification Assessments.

    “Schedules have been devised and teachers are in the process of contacting students informing them of the days and times that they are to report to school. [Last week], officers of the Ministry . . . toured the secondary schools with principals accompanied by board chairmen, secretary treasurers, union reps, PTA reps and representatives from the health and safety committees

    of the school to confirm readiness.”

    As for primary schools, the release stated preparations were continuing and further meetings scheduled with parents before school resumes next week. (CA)

    Source: Nation newspaper

    Like

Join in the discussion, you never know how expressing your view may make a difference.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s