It is official!
Face-to-face classes will resume in schools across Barbados come Monday.
Education Minister Kay McConney made the announcement during a press briefing this afternoon, after another week of intense talks with education stakeholders, including parents, teachers and the unions
In explaining the rationale for the decision Minister McConney said the Ministry is mindful some students will be taking external exams including CSEC and CAPE and their counterparts in the region, have already resumed face-to-face school.
She said some must also get going on subjects that require practical work submissions to demonstrate their competence.
Chief Education Officer Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, says phase one will target students identified as most vulnerable.
That is those in Nursery, Reception, Infants A and B, Class 4 students, First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Formers and children with special needs.
In phase two will be children in classes One, Two and Three and Second and Third Forms.
The Ministry will allow for some flexibility in the initial stages so long as students have at least five days of face-to-face school within a two week period.
Having heard the concerns of teachers’ unions, teachers worried about a return to face-to-face have been given an additional week to adjust.
As for the safety requirements, Dr Archer Bradshaw says students should be three feet apart at all times and must wear masks, although mask breaks will be allowed.
Sanitisation stations are also required, and random testing will be conducted for students and staff from the nursery to secondary levels.
The Chief Education Officer also explained what plans have been put in place to accommodate parents who, perhaps because of financial constraints caused by the pandemic, may be unable to source school uniforms at this time.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George, says transmission in schools is an unlikely event.