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By Latrishka Thomas

CXC students are to return to school on Wednesday to resume physical classroom learning after nine weeks of Covid-related closures.

Director of Education Clare Browne said the decision was made to facilitate preparations for the July CXC examinations.

“For the CSEC students, fifth form and other students, we are seeking to clear the way for schools to reopen the physical facilities as of the 18th of May. Now the first two days, we are not expecting students to be around, we are expecting principals and teachers and other staff members to be at school, organising for the receipt of students on Wednesday, then we are hoping that the students can begin to go back to their respective secondary institutions,” he revealed.

Browne also said that provisions are being made to ensure students’ health and safety.

“The Board of Education will ensure that additional hand washing stations are installed in school. In addition to that, the Board of Education is ensuring that they put in the hand sanitising dispensers in all the spaces that are going to be used,” he explained.

In addition, there will be a quarantine room allocated for students who become ill, back up water systems and each student will be issued with facemasks and a personal hand sanitiser, the Director detailed.

Social distancing and hygiene protocol will also be enforced by teachers.

However, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Education E. Jonah Greene is encouraging parents to provide additional protective gear for their children.

Greene also stated that no selling of food will be done on the compound. As a result, parents will have to provide food and drinks for their children.

Parents, on the other hand, will not have to worry about their children’s commute, Greene explained.

She said that students will be picked up at 7am and returned at 1.30pm as close to their homes as possible. No more than 12 students will be allowed on a school bus at any one time.

Greene also said a space would be set aside on a bus in which a child showing any signs of illness, such as sneezing, would be placed before being taken to school administrators.

The CXC examinations will take place from June 29to July 17 in the form of multiple choice questions. Students will also be graded according to their school-based assessments (SBAs).

Meanwhile, other secondary school students are being notified that e-learning will continue until June 19.

The Ministry of Education said the 2019/2020 school year will officially end on July 26 and the 2020/2021 school year is slated to begin on August 31.

Other tertiary institutions, such as the Antigua State College, are also currently making arrangements for students to return to the classroom.

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