Plan for remote learning at public schools

  • Llewellyn Simmons, the action education commissioner (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Llewellyn Simmons, the action education commissioner (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

A plan to allow public school pupils to learn at home if schools are closed is being drawn up, the acting education commissioner said yesterday.

Llewellyn Simmons added that the goal was to keep public schools open.

Dr Simmons said that the Department of Education was working with schools to come up with contingency plans.

He explained: “Preparation includes the development of hard copies of learning packets and/or improved support for information technology for remote learning.

“Internet access, an e-mail address and a student and parent PowerSchool account are needed for remote learning.”

Dr Simmons said that remote learning would involve “weekly teaching assignments, to log in to PowerSchool when required, to complete tasks during the week, to communicate with other students if asked, and to continue the learning process”.

He added: “The continuous learning by each student will be critically important for upcoming pre-scheduled tests and examinations.”

Dr Simmons said that the health and safety of pupils, staff and families was the department’s “top priority”.

He added: “As reported, public schools will remain open.

“We will continue to receive daily reports from the Ministry of Health and principals.

“Should there be any confirmed case or cases in any of our schools, families will be notified and decisions will be made according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, following a risk assessment in co-ordination with the Department of Health.”

Dr Simmons highlighted several precautionary measures in schools, including daily monitoring of pupils and staff for illness and absenteeism, increased cleaning of common areas and the suspension of assemblies, field trips and sporting events.

He said that pupils had also been told to practise social distancing and to wash their hands often.

Dr Simmons added that visitors, volunteers and contractors should avoid public schools until further notice. He said that he was aware that concerns about Covid-19 had led to a “difficult and worrying time for many students, staff and parents”.

Dr Simmons told them: “We, therefore, commit to regular communication and updates with you and to continue to make informed decisions in the best interests of staff, students and their families.”

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said last Thursday that a plan for out-of-school education had been developed from earlier virus scares. He said at the time: “We are in the process of reviewing that plan.

“Rest assured that we do have a contingency plan that’s being worked on and will be ready within the next few days.”

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Published Mar 19, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 19, 2020 at 3:39 pm)

Plan for remote learning at public schools

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