By Theresa Goodwin
As students and teachers prepare to start a new academic year today, remote learning or otherwise, they are being encouraged to embrace the new year for all it has to offer, and put in the work to ensure that desired results are achieved.
Director of Education Clare Browne provided the words of encouragement and hope to both students and teachers and other support staff in a recorded message marking the start of the new school year.
“I know you are beginning the new school year with the great intention to do well, and make your parents and yourselves proud. I challenge you to let your high intentions propel you to put away your phones, take a break from social media, turn off the PS5’s and ignore the remote. Manage your time wisely and let your high intentions be backed by consistent hard work,” Browne said, speaking directly to students across the island.
“Persevere with your school work; know that difficulties will not just miraculously disappear, you have to attack the difficulties until you conqueror them,” he continued.
As for educators and principals, the director stated that, ”Teaching and learning in our territory was kept intact because of your dedication to your duty. In this new school year, we challenge you to continue to be unstinting in your determination to meet the many demands of teaching and learning.”
Browne said the ministry also recognizes that the work of teachers depends on how well they are, and therefore he appealed to educators to take the necessary steps to protect their physical, mental and emotional health.
The education official also commended parents and guardians, exhorting them to continue to support their children in these difficult times, and ensuring that there is a safety net for them to thrive.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the steady increase in new infections has forced Ministry of Education officials to implement Tier 2 of its education plan which will see only new students, and those who may be transferring from one institution or another, have some limited level of face-to-face learning for the next three weeks. The majority of students from all levels will begin classes remotely until there is a further improvement in the endemiological situation in the country.
The Cabinet will also be allowing some private schools to conduct face-to-face instructions once they are able to show documentation that both teaching staff and students are vaccinated; the same rule applies to pre-schools once proof of vaccination is verified.
At the same time, ministry officials have also encouraged students, teachers and parents, to use the extra time to ensure that those who are eligible to get a Covid vaccine are given the opportunity to do so. Unvaccinated teachers in the public and private setting will be required to test twice monthly for Covid.