In the normal scheme of things in-class instructions should have restarted on Monday 20, April but as concerns about the possible spread of the novel coronavirus continue to grow, schools across St. Vincent and the Grenadines are to remain closed for a further two weeks, the Education Minister advised.

Following the promised review of the ongoing schools’ closure which was held on Tuesday, Education Minister Jimmy Prince told Asbert News Network, “we decided today that we’re not going to re-open immediately as we still have to put certain things in place first. And even if we opened, it would be like a Form 5 alone in a whole school or a Grade 6 alone in a whole school so we’d have physical distancing and so on but we’d have to have proper sanitization etc.

“The other problem we may have is how are they coming to school? They have to jam up in buses with people who might be infected.

“So all of that we’re looking at before we decide but we decided to suspended the opening for another 2 weeks for another reassessment again.”

Schools were closed one week before they were scheduled to have their annual Easter break in response to a government led consultation with the principals of primary and secondary schools as well as the heads of early childhood education centers. This further suspension would allow for Education and Health officials to continue to assess and mitigate against potential COVID-19 threats at schools nationwide.

“In the meantime we’re sending in cleaners to do all the sanitizations; we might have to put in more sinks and wash stations for them to wash their hands – that is if we’re going to open. But we’re doing that in the meantime,” Minister Prince told ANN.

Some schools here have started online teaching modalities that allow their students to stay abreast of the established curriculum. Others are expected to come on stream as soon as resources are made available, sources say.

“Students and teachers are encouraged to utilize the CXC Learning Hub – our e-Learning platform that provides learners and instructors with a single access point to multiple resources geared towards exam preparation is available at: learninghub.cxc.org,” the regional exams authority said recently.

The Caribbean Examination Council also announced a postponement of the May/June exams as well as changes to its examination protocols.
The proposed date is set for July though the Council has said, “we continue to be guided by the national protocols across the region.”

Additionally CSEC and CAPE students would be given one multiple choice paper and final grades would be derived from that as well as School Based Assessments. Private candidates would also test on a multiple choice paper and a paper that will serve as an alternative to SBA’s.

Only exceptions would be students studying Modern Languages, Human and Social Biology and Visual Arts as they will be required to complete additional components.

This new strategy, CXC said, “will employ the e-Testing modality (online and offline)” in order to reduce the examinations administration processing time. This is expected to result “in the shortest turnaround time for marking and the release of examination results…. [And] minimizes disruption to the 2020/2021 academic year.”

Updates regarding the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessments are still pending.

JP.Schwmon.Vincy@Gmail.Com