The nation’s children will continue attending classes in an online format for another two weeks, after which a blended approach will again be considered at the beginning of November.
This is according to Minister of Education, Curtis King, who shared the details of the recent decision regarding mode of teaching in schools, given the continuing upsurge in COVID-19 positive cases .
“We have extended the online teaching for the next two weeks. If conditions are favourable, then we would commence a blended approach from Monday, November 1 for all schools,” King told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday afternoon.
Schools across St Vincent and the Grenadines opened virtually for the 2021/2022 academic year on October 4, due to the COVID-19 situation.
Officials announced ahead of the opening that they would consider a blended approach two weeks later, and that consideration would be given to resume face-to-face learning later in the term, depending on what was happening with the pandemic.
The education minister said yesterday that an extensive document was prepared, which outlined several categories to facilitate this plan.
While its implementation has stalled, given the two-week extension of online teaching, this is the document that is likely to inform the process going forward, as it relates to the blended approach.
King explained that the first category related to schools which have a small population, sufficient capacity to physically distance, are not in an area classified as a COVID-19 hotspot, had completed repairs, and whose students were not required to commute using public transportation.
The schools that met these conditions would open their doors for students to do face-to-face learning.
The second category were for schools that had a large population size, insufficient capacity, had completed repair works, are not in an area classified as a hotspot and whose students were not required to commute using public transport.
These schools would be open using a blended format.
The third category focused on schools that have a large population, insufficient capacity, incomplete repair works, are in an area classified as a COVID-19 hotspot and where students were required to commute using public transportation.
These schools would utilise the online format only.
“We had 17 (primary) schools indicating they would’ve done online only. The blended version, 37 primary schools had said they were ready for that. And there were nine schools, given their size, who felt that they could’ve done face to face,” King said, referring to primary schools that fall into the respective categories.
He also disclosed that with regard to secondary schools ,13 fell into the online teaching only category, while 15 others were capable of implementing the blended approach.
“Unfortunately, given the situation in the country and so on, it was felt that we should continue online for a next two weeks and in the meantime, we do all that we can to ensure that November 1, once the conditions are favourable, we go to this plan, that is to say the next phase, which would’ve been a blended phase,” the education minister said.