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Richards: school return decision is ‘fluid’

The Commissioner of Education has sent a letter to teachers and parents of public-school children with an update on pandemic return-to-school rules.

Kalmar Richards confirmed that “extremely vulnerable students and staff” would work on a remote basis and that the situation on returning would remain “fluid”.

Ms Richards admitted there had been “concerns and anxiety” over health and safety standards of school buildings.

She added: “From the start of the crisis, we have worked closely with the Department of Health to develop the safety and health protocols for staff and students at the preschool, primary, middle, senior levels, and Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy.

“The custodians for our building will also have to follow cleaning protocols.

“We have been carefully consulting and listening, and are including school leadership teams in the planning process as we move forward.”

Ms Richards said private Facebook groups had been created for each school level.

She added: “We cannot predict the future, but we know that there are challenges and opportunities to come.

“We know we have to improve our communication in order to be able to navigate the road ahead.”

She said she would hold Zoom town hall sessions with a maximum of 45 parents per session, with 25 chosen at random by Ms Richards.

Ms Richards said arrangements would be made to hold sessions for families whose first language is not English.

A total of ten of the sessions, to be held between July 25 and August 10, will be recorded, streamed live on relevant Facebook group pages and posted online.

Participants must create an account through the ministry.

Topics to be discussed include health and safety rules, hybrid teaching and learning methods, support measures for vulnerable pupils, changes in educational programmes, “Recovery Week”, schools and staff preparations, technology updates and communications planning.

A Zoom event tomorrow, moderated by Ayo Johnson, will examine the social studies curriculum.

Panellists include Ms Richards and ministry staff, Llewellyn Simmons, director of academics, Nicole Grant, social studies education officer, and Nekesha Holdipp, special projects officer.

Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published July 23, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated July 23, 2020 at 8:12 am)

Richards: school return decision is ‘fluid’

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