Acting Principal at Kellits High School in Clarendon, Jermaine Harris, has appealed for Government to give his institution the go-ahead to resume face-to-face classes for students preparing to sit exams administered by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

In March last year, schools throughout the island were ordered to ban face-to-face classes to help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The government, in recent times, has been giving some schools the go-ahead to resume face-to-face classes, providing they meet stipulated guidelines.

Harris, who yesterday underscored the importance of meeting the government’s guidelines, disclosed that Kellits High already underwent one assessment to determine its readiness.

The school is now gearing up for a second inspection.

“We have done one inspection so far, and we got 82 percent readiness in terms of satisfactorily compliant with the Ministry of Health regulation. They gave us some recommendations. We have put in all of those [recommendations], and we will be inviting the Ministry of Health this week to come and do another inspection. I believe that we will be at that 100 percent mark,” Harris said.

He added: “It is a lot of work [getting the school 100 percent ready]; it is quite costly based on the requirements, but, as a school, we are willing to make the investment so that we can at least have face-to-face classes for the exam groups.”

Harris also explained that a number of students, who will sit CXC exams, will need to attend school for face-to-face-classes in order to complete the practical components of their subjects. He noted areas such as Home Economics, Electrical and Electronic Technology, Engineering, as well as Electronic Document Preparation and Management.

The acting principal, in an address to school stakeholders, said: “I want you to pray for us that the Ministry of Health will give us the green-light for us to have face-to-face for our exam students, because it would really be a travesty for those students who will be at a disadvantage. Our neighbouring schools – Clarendon College, Edwin Allen and Claude McKay; they have been given the green-light to open their face-to-face classes.”

Harris also expressed concern that more schools in the Clarendon Northern constituency have not yet been allowed to resume face-to-face classes.

“What I picked up is that only one school in Northern Clarendon was given the green light – a small school by the name of Morgan Forrest Primary. I am not sure what is happening in Northern Clarendon. I reached out to the education officer; I reached out to the Ministry [of Education] Region Seven to find out what is happening in Northern Clarendon. They are not certain,” Harris said.

He, in the meantime, expressed hope that Kellits High will be allowed to resume face-to-face classes for exam students by January 18.

“It is the exam group that we are focusing on currently. So, Grades Seven to 10, it is still going to be a little bit dicey for those grades. We are trying to bring in the Grades 11, 12 and 13 and we are aiming for January 18… The onus is on the Ministry of Health to give us the green-light. If it was up to yours truly and your Chairman and other members of staff, we would have been having school from October 5.

“However, we must work with the protocol established by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Until such time, we will not be able to have face-to-face classes… We don’t want to put any student, or any teacher, or any member of staff at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus…” Harris further said emphatically.


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By Mills