South Central District schools resume full in-person learning – Eye Witness News

New Providence is expected to follow suit or resume 75% capacity by the end of the week

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – More than a dozen schools in the South Central District of the Bahamas, including five schools on Long Island, will welcome their full complement of students today as they return to full face-to-face learning. face for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with Eyewitness News, Education Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin said considering all factors, including the impact of the ongoing pandemic and that of Hurricane Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama, it is urgent to “pass safely 100% face to face across the country”. .

Education Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin.

“It is an established fact that children do better in face-to-face and that those who remain in virtual mode, even in a hybrid model, this has been shown to impact the pace of learning,” said the Minister.

“All the research says the best way to impart knowledge is face-to-face and – given the loss in this COVID period of only two years, and in Grand Bahama and Abaco it’s been three years because they got Dorian — With that in mind with the fallout, we urgently commit to a safe transition to 100% face-to-face nationwide.

“It is the political position.

“It must be done safely in each case.”

In a separate interview, Director of Education Marcellus Taylor said smaller schools that are prepared and mobilized and don’t require much reconfiguration, unlike the larger schools in New Providence, will return to full face-to-face.

The general strategy is that when schools are ready, we allow them to move forward.

– Director of Education Marcellus Taylor

He explained that once principals and district superintendents approve it, the school can resume full in-person learning.

These include primary schools, where in most cases there is one teacher per grade level.

“The general strategy is that when schools are ready, we allow them to move forward,” Taylor said.

“We are going to start seeing the small schools in the Family Islands and I anticipate that on Monday Long Island will be operational, the five schools will probably be face to face.

Director of Education Marcellus Taylor.

“We will see in the South Central District, most schools, if not all – we know two out of three [that] can’t – but up to about 19 schools, at least 15 of them will go ahead with a full face-off.

“Likewise throughout the Commonwealth on the Family Islands.”

The principal said schools in Grand Bahama are close to resuming full in-person learning, but he could not provide a timeline on when that would happen.

However, he said it is hoped that before the end of the week, if schools have not returned to full in-person learning, they will either have resumed at 60-75% capacity or indicated “their intention to increase their numbers closer to 100 percent”.

The teacher shortage will continue to present a challenge to a full return, according to Taylor.

When asked if schools need Department of Education approval to resume full in-person learning, Taylor said the department has indicated that principals, as well as district superintendents, can make the final decision.

He recommended that schools form committees made up of a local union representative, a teacher, school board and APE representatives and a student, as appropriate, “if they wish”. , to provide feedback on the school’s readiness.

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