More than 300 fifth and sixth form students, who will sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), beginning July 13, attended classes at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) today, June 8.
It is the first time that secondary schools across Jamaica opened in nearly three months. They were closed on March 13 as part of Government’s move to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Principal of STETHS, Keith Wellington, along with 23 teachers, was on hand to welcome the students.
Wellington stated that preparations were made to ensure that the environment is safe for students and staff.
“The school would have done a few things to prepare. We put in a number of hand-washing stations, installed sanitiser dispensers, did proper cleaning up, and arranged classrooms so that we can facilitate physical distancing of at least six feet,” he noted.
“The [safety] arrangements were completed on Friday (June 5) and we were checked by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which passed the place as fit to accommodate students.”
The auditorium is being used for classes to ensure that the physical distance requirement is maintained.
Wellington told the state-owned Jamaica Information Service that classes will be held in three sessions each day – a morning session from 8:30AM to 10:30AM, a mid-morning session from 11AM to 12:30PM, and an afternoon session from 1:30PM to 3:30PM.
“So, based on how the timetable is set, students are in classes for the majority of the day and they only need to move twice for the day,” he said.
The principal stated that some students were initially apprehensive, but they became more comfortable as the day progressed.
“I think there was some level of concern but by the time we spoke to them and they got to meet their teachers during the first session, you could see their old selves coming back in terms of the happiness in their eyes and the joy at being at school,” Wellington said. “They are responding well in trying to keep their distance from each other and keeping safe.”