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Education Minister Says he Expects a Slow and Careful Return of Face to Face Learning

We have reported on the Ministry of Education’s decision to greenlight a select number of schools to reopen for face-to-face learning. While most schools remain physically closed and have migrated to online instruction, the Ministry had advised that school managements pay attention to advisories from health officials to determine their individual course of action. In speaking to Minister Francis Fonseca on Wednesday, he explained that he does anticipate a slow but carefully thought out process for reopening. Here’s how he framed it.

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “The last report I received was that 42 schools across the country have reopened in some form as you’ll appreciate for face to face learning. So in most cases it’s a hybrid approach so you have face to face learning but you also have online learning as well taking place. So very few schools have reopened fully only for face to face learning and I don’t think that is something that we’re going to see happen very quickly. So 42 schools have actually opened I think over 60 of them have actually gotten green lighted but out of those sixty something 42 have actually returned to some form of face to face instruction.”

In the meantime, the Ministry is concerned about the way crime and violence is affecting young people, especially in the wake of students from SJC’s high school division gunned down. Minister Fonseca concedes that while Government is doing all it can to address these challenges, they are facing a very complicated situation.

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “As you all know it’s a very complex issue but certainly education, our education system has to play a critical role in resolving this issue so we have to make strategic investments in education, in these vulnerable communities. As you rightly said you know when our young people are out of the school system that provides opportunities for these problems to arise these challenges to be exacerbated so we want them back in the classroom and that is one of the reasons we’ve been pushing so hard and trying so hard to get our classrooms back, get our students back into the classroom in a safe and reasonable way. You know as well as the violence you know there’s a lot of social and psychological develop impact and negative impacts on our students being outside of the classroom not being around their friends, not having the support system that normally comes with the education system so it’s a big challenge but we understand that challenge and we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to ensure that our students get back into the classroom and that we do our part the Ministry of Education as we’ve been trying to do to meet those challenges, to work along with other stakeholders, to work along with other ministries to address the crisis that is facing our young people in this country.”