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By Adia Wynter

Plans for students to return to the classroom next month are moving forward with a new phased approach being implemented for the new school year.

A schedule plus procedures for children’s return were outlined during a Ministry of Education press conference yesterday.

Education Officer Denise Mills explained that phasing in students would allow for their safe introduction to the new school atmosphere amid Covid-19.

She said, “Our students will return to school not all at once. So, being phased in, it will give them the opportunity to be oriented with regards to the new norms.”

This move, according to Mills, will also allow education officials to review and adjust the plan accordingly.

“As we phase our students in, we are able to better view and have an idea of what the reopening of school is really like, and so we will be able to make the necessary changes as they happen along the way,” she explained.

As it relates to public schools, Mills detailed that the return of primary school students will be conducted over a two-week period.

For week one, commencing September 7, all kindergarten as well as grades one, two and six students are expected to be at school. For week two, all classes including grades three, four and five are expected to be on compound.

It was also explained that some schools will be implementing a shift system where all students will be on compound but at different times of the day.

In those circumstances, week one will be for kindergarten, grades one, two and six students only. As week two begins, all classes including grades three, four and five will operate under the shift system. Mills also stated that schools with a smaller number of students will be exempt from this shift system.

Public secondary schools will follow a similar phase-in schedule. Beginning September 7, students will return to classes one form per day.

That is, form one students only will return to school on September 7, followed by forms two through five on each consecutive day with all students resuming ‘regular classes’ as of September 14.

The Ministry of Education has stated that managers of all private schools across the nation will inform parents of their plans to begin the new academic year.

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