William Knibb Memorial and Muschette High Schools in Trelawny have put several measures in place to protect their staff and students from the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the schools reopen for students sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).

Schools across the island were closed in late March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secondary schools, as of Monday (June 8), were temporarily reopened to facilitate final preparation for the sitting of the CSEC and CAPE, scheduled to get under way on July 13.

The CSEC and CAPE refresher programme for students will come to an end on July 3.

In an interview with JIS News, Principal of William Knibb, Linvern Wright, noted that the school commenced planning for the reopening two weeks earlier.

“A COVID-19 protocol committee would oversee the planning for the reopening. We did things like training of staff to sanitise areas, to counsel students who were dealing with coming back [to school] and explain to them what would be expected of them, and what they should expect when they go into their classes,” Mr. Wright said.

He noted that special emphasis was placed on adherence to social distancing rules in the classrooms as well as the installation of handwashing and sanitising stations around the school compound. Measures implemented at the school also included temperature checks and sanitisation of hands at the school’s entrance.

The principal added that transport arrangements were also made to accommodate students travelling from Montego Bay in St. James and Clarks Town, Duncans and Wakefield in Trelawny.

He pointed out that students have been timetabled to come in when they are needed. “Each department has a work plan for them. So, some students are going to be revising, some will be going over concepts, some will be doing school-based assessments (SBAs) that they were having trouble with, others will be going over multiple choice past papers, as well as one-on-one sessions with teachers,” Mr. Wright said.

Mr. Wright lauded the ancillary staff at the school for ensuring that the premises were properly sanitised.

For his part, Principal of Muschette High, Leighton Johnson, told JIS News that the reopening of the school has so far been “seamless” as a result of the work that was put in prior to June 8.

Mr. Johnson noted that students and parents were briefed by way of a virtual Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) meeting, prior to the reopening, about the protocols put in place by the school.

Measures implemented include temperature checks and sanitisation at the school gate, mandatory mask wearing, and the installation of additional handwashing and sanitisation stations on the compound.

Teachers also ensure that students are sanitised before entering classrooms at the school.

The principal said that social distancing is also being enforced on the compound. “Desks have been arranged in the classes to facilitate social distancing and we have ensured that there are signs right across the school to remind students of this new way of life,” he added.