PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel says the ministry is looking into the possibility of students returning to face-to-face instruction in the classrooms.
Samuel said he plans to meet with Public Health officials to further discuss this possibility, “because if there are no clusters in the community, face-to-face is the best thing to do,” he added.
Samuel said during the virtual live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday that his first priority was ensuring that students in the examination classes were the first groups to return to the classrooms for face-to-face instruction. “The reason for that was to make sure that those students that have to sit their exams would not have to endure a gap in their learning,” he said.
He said the ministry has implemented measures from the Education Continuity Plan based on the current COVID-19 situation in the community. He noted that if it were indicated that there were a lot of clusters within the community, the ministry would remain in the direction of distance learning, but if there are no clusters then a face-to-face approach would be the direction to follow.
He said that according to the most recent reports from Collective Prevention Services (CPS), there are no clusters of transmission of COVID-19 in the community. “And that means, according to the Education Continuity Plan, we can go to Approach Four [of the Education Continuity Plan – Ed.],” he added.
According to Approach Four of the plan, all educational institutions will resume and operate as normal, regular school hours and in-class instruction will apply, schools will be advised to maintain proper hygiene and sanitisation protocols, and strict surveillance by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA and by schools will be enforced.
Samuel said he will have an update available by next week in regard to whether the ministry will move forward with the decision to use Education Continuity Plan Approach Four.
“Which I would love to do … where we can have all the students back in the classroom, face-to-face,” Samuel concluded.