The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, following consultations with its key stakeholders, has made the decision for students to sit the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations. Consistent with changes in assessment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CXC will be using a modified version of its assessment. The modified format will include the administration of paper 01 and SBA/paper 03 supported by appropriate modelling and teachers’ predictive grades. The examinations are scheduled to commence on July 27, 2020.

As outlined in Bulletin 78/2020, the Ministry and City and Guilds have taken the joint decision to cancel the sitting of the written paper of the Mathematics Skills and English Skills #3850 assessments. City and Guilds will instead use a calculated assessment strategy to determine the award of their certification. A detailed guidance document on the assessment strategy for all City and Guilds examinations will be provided in the week of May 25, 2020.

Based on the foregoing as well as the thwarted efforts to complete the School Based Assessments (SBAs) and the syllabi for the exit examinations, due mainly to the physical closure of schools in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MoEYI) recognizes the need for additional teaching time to ensure the students’ readiness for their exams. Therefore, school will resume face to face classes for all students sitting exit examinations effective June 8, 2020 to July 3, 2020. The period should be used to engage students in teaching and learning activities in preparation for the successful sitting of the exit examinations. For students who need additional time for preparation this can be arranged at the school level. We also encourage the use of online and printed materials to complement the face to face engagements as much as possible. We are aware however, that students are usually provided with time for private study before the commencement of the exams. 

School administrators will be provided with an Education in Emergencies School Resumption Manual in the week of May 25, 2020 to guide the resumption efforts at the school level. In the interim, administrators are being asked to assess their individual situation and follow up with their Regional Offices regarding specific support in ensuring the safety of their stakeholders. Some of the precautions that should be considered at this time include: 1. Rearranging the seating in all classrooms in keeping with the social/physical distancing guidelines which require students being 6 feet apart. 2. Modifying the timetable to ensure that teachers are appropriately deployed to attend to the students. Psychosocial sessions must be timetabled for all students and teachers to help them to cope with the changes imposed on them as a result of the pandemic. Special consideration should be given to staff members with co-morbidities or underlying health conditions that increase their risks of contracting the coronavirus. 3. Developing your plans for the use and distribution of basic equipment and materials needed for sanitization purposes such as temperature guns, hand washing solutions/stations, masks, alcohol, sanitizers, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). 4. Deploying staff to clean and disinfect/sanitize school buildings, classrooms and other facilities prior to the resumption of school and according to a daily routine while school is in operation. The Ministry will procure the services of professional cleaners to deep clean each school to commence the first week of June, 2020. 5. Coordinating the training of staff and students on implementing physical distancing and other precautionary/hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness will coordinate national training sessions for School Nurses, Guidance Counsellors and Deans of Disciplines. 6. Developing a monitoring mechanism to ensure that precautionary measures are never compromised. 7. Coordinating with parents and local transport providers to ensure the save movement of students to and from school. Where there is need for transportation support for students/families who are experiencing severe financial challenges, this should be communicated to the regional office immediately. 8. Coordinating a modified arrangement for the provision of meals at the class level to avoid large gatherings. 9. Preparing a space and appropriate protocols to treat with students and staff who may become ill or show symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

Please note that the Ministry is taking the necessary steps to centrally procure various items and services for distribution to schools in the first week of June ahead of the suggested official start up on June 8, 2020. The list of items and services will be communicated in the Education in Emergencies School Resumption Manual.

The Ministry is assured of the quality leadership and governance structures in our schools and stands ready to support every effort being expended to ensure the success and safety of all students during the time of preparation and administration of all exit examinations. School administrators are therefore urged not to hesitate to contact their regional office for further guidance and support.