~ All students to return to in-class instruction starting November 16 ~
PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel says schools may allow some students to return to in-class instruction starting as early as Monday, October 19.
This was announced by the minister in a letter addressed to all parents and guardians on Tuesday, October 6.
In the letter the minister said although the country is still experiencing community transmission, the rate of transmission is at a lower rate in comparison to four weeks ago.
Samuel said CPS indicated that an increase in the active number of cases is expected within the coming weeks. This is in part due to the reopening of bars and night clubs on September 15, an increase in the window of testing from three to five days for persons coming from abroad, as well as an increase in testing in which 50 per cent of persons tested are found to be positive.
Meetings between the Ministry of ECYS and the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Affairs VSA were held on September 23, September 28 and October 5, in discussion of this matter. As a result, the Ministry of ECYS was advised by CPS to refrain from returning all students to school at the same time.
Samuel said based on the current number of COVID-19 active cases as well as the advice provided by the Ministry of VSA he has listed several recommendations, given that health protocols are in place.
Exam students and special education students will be allowed to return to in-class instruction starting the week of October 19. Schools can prepare for the return of their most vulnerable students to in-class instruction starting the week of October 26. Schools can prepare for the return of all students from November 16 using the third approach of the Education Continuity Plan.
Within the third approach of the Education Continuity Plan, schools should have measures in place to maintain COVID-19 prevention and control measures while operating at 100 per cent.
Within Primary Schools, regular school hours will apply, staggered break times should be implemented where possible and social distancing should be maintained.
Secondary schools would resume using a combination of in-class and online instruction. In this case 50 per cent of students will attend full day classes twice per week and the remaining 50 per cent of students will attend classes on two other distinct days.
For Vocational Schools, students would resume using a staggered approach. This will consist of a rotational schedule of two groups. One group will attend school two days per week and the other group will attend school three days per week.
Higher Education students will resume as normal. Social distancing would have to be maintained when and where possible.
According to the Education Continuity Plan, all health and safety guidelines should be strictly communicated and adhered to by all schools.
“In these unprecedented times, I sincerely thank you for your continued support in ensuring that our students continue to receive their education,” Samuel concluded.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/select-students-may-start-in-class-instruction-oct-19