The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information continues to support the national efforts to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. Therefore, for the reopening of schools effective September 7, 2020, all stakeholders will be required to implement and observe all the infection, prevention and control measures/safety precautions, including social distancing, without compromise.
Whilst it is the Ministry’s preference for most if not all of its students to be taught using the face to face modality, based on the audit that was conducted in each school, it was found that in excess of 500 public schools will be in need of additional learning spaces in order to support the continued education of all students, while observing social distancing.
In light of the foregoing, the Ministry has developed the attached Education in Emergencies: Models of Curriculum Implementation for the Reopening of Schools with examples of scheduling approaches to be used as guides by our school administrators (please see attached). School Boards therefore have the approval of the Ministry to re-organize learning at the school level accordingly, which should ensure access to quality learning experience and support by all students through the provision of a diverse blend of learning opportunities and resources using:
a. Face to Face Interaction
b. Online/computer-based learning platforms and applications
c. Interactive television programmes (eHomeSchooling Network, PBCJ) and
d. Learning packages or kits (printed materials, workbooks, textbooks etc.)
School administrators are encouraged to make use of temporary learning spaces (tents, gazebos etc.) on the school compound where possible, or to rent spaces to be used as classrooms in close proximity to the school to maximize on the face to face interactions as a first priority. The Ministry will underwrite this cost and the Regional Office will provide the technical support required for this process.
The following outlines the five (5) approved operational approaches/models to curriculum implementation for the new school year:
- Whole Day Approach – In this case, the school operates a normal timetable given its enrolment and available classroom space. Therefore, school administrators maximize on their physical infrastructure, may include the use of temporary learning spaces and offer a diverse blend of learning opportunities.
- Extended Day Approach – In this case, different groups of students are timetabled to arrive and depart from school at different times to maximize on classroom space. For example, half of the school attends between the hours of 7:30am to 2:30pm and the other half attends between 10:00am to 3:30pm. The groupings may be informed by performance/pathways or grade levels such as upper and lower school. This approach may also include the use of temporary learning spaces with a diverse blend of learning opportunities.
- Rotational Approach – This includes blended learning, that is, face to face and computer-based/distance learning using a weekly rotational timetable. This may be considered as follows: (a)Grades 1-3/7-9 attend face-to-face sessions for two days for the first week and three days for the second week. (b) Grades 4-6/10-13 engage in distance learning sessions for two days for the first week and face-to-face sessions for three days for the second week based on the rotational model. (c) The schedule may be organized so that only the upper or lower school level is at face-to-face sessions on specific days or only those with access to technological devices are scheduled for distance learning. (d) School administrators should do an audit to determine which students can be considered for computer-based/distance learning on a rotational schedule. If students do not have access to technological devices and therefore cannot be considered for distance learning/computer based learning, principals should make every effort to utilize temporary learning spaces at schools via the use of tents or other temporary structures as well as through the rental of spaces at private institutions/organizations such as conference centres, churches etc.
- Online Learning – This involves the total learning programme being offered online (synchronous or asynchronous) with specific days/sessions for labs and consultations. This may be considered for Grades 12-13 only.
- Home-Schooling – On the grounds of safety, some parents have requested to home-school their children. Home-School is a learning programme that is based on national curriculum for the respective grade level, in accordance with policy requirements and is offered through various interactive instructional media at home. Parents who choose to use this method, must submit a letter of application to the Independent Schools’ Unit at [email protected]. Following the completion of the application and registration process, a letter of certification will be provided to the parent to signify the Ministry’s approval and the guidelines to be observed.
Our Regional Officers are available to provide all the necessary support and guidance to ensure that quality education is guaranteed for all students. School administrators are urged to seek clarity where necessary by contacting their Regional Office.