Shift system starts Monday for St Mary’s and JSS students

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By Elesha George

The students of St Mary’s Secondary School (SMSS) in Bolans will have to share a campus with their peers at the Jennings Secondary School (JSS) from Monday, January 27th, 2020, as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Works attempt to execute a permanent fix to the SMSS schoolyard.

 “The plan is as of Monday morning we are activating that shift system…Jennings Secondary has a student population of 553 students, St Mary’s Secondary has a student population of 209, so the students in St Mary’s can fit in Jennings twice over,” the Director of Education, Clare Browne, said.

SMSS was closed indefinitely on Monday after the authorities were unable to rectify the effects of heavy rains on the school compound.

From next week, it is expected that students who attend JSS will operate on a shortened timetable by giving up 10 minutes from each of their classes, and ending their school-day an hour earlier, at 12.30 pm, while sessions for SMSS students will be held from 1 pm to 4:30 pm each day.

Under the new arrangement, the JSS fifth formers will be allowed to continue classes until 1.30 pm, unlike the other forms.

“We have met with the Antigua and Barbuda Transport Board, the Motor Pool Manager, and he indicated that he would be able to work out the logistics of moving the students from Jennings at 12.30 and getting the St Mary’s Secondary School students into there for 1 o’clock,” Browne said.

After meeting with teachers from the JSS on Wednesday, the Director plans to meet with teachers and parents of the SMSS today to settle on the shift system arrangement.

Browne, who has been unable to give a timeline for repairs to be completed at the Bolans school,  stressed that there was no quick fix to the problem at SMSS.

“We have to at least put some structures in place to ensure that we don’t fall back into the situation that we find ourselves in now,” he added.

Meantime, the SMSS fifth formers have reportedly been attending classes at the Bolans Wesleyan Holiness Church since yesterday, as they continue to prepare for CXC examinations in May/June.

The SMSS Principal, Casey Phillip, is expected to meet with his staff today to discuss the temporary solution.

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