NO EXCUSES: Education director says uniform not a necessity to return to the classroom

NO EXCUSES: Education director says uniform not a necessity to return to the classroom

Students must return to the classroom on the scheduled day

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Education officials have advised that all students scheduled to return to face-to-face learning must do so, even if they do not have proper school uniforms.

Public schools nationwide are expected to resume hybrid instruction with in-person classes beginning January 11.

During a town hall meeting hosted by the Ministry of Education last night, Director of Education Marcellus Taylor underscored the importance of students getting face-to-face time with teachers.

“They are already only scheduled to come face to face on a few days, so on those days, we do expect all the students who are scheduled to come on that day to come on those days,” Taylor said.

He noted that extreme cases of people who have some illness that require them to stay home will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“Generally and unless it can be avoided, we want all students to come on those days when they are supposed to come face to face.”

Taylor also insisted that students not having the school uniform is not an excuse for them to remain home.

“Although it would be nice for students to have a uniform, it’s not imperative because really more importantly at this time is for students to come to school,” he said.

“So if you have the uniform it’s fine, but if you don’t have the uniform, do not make that a deterrent for sending your child.

“We want the child. We’re not worrying about the clothes they’re wearing — although uniform has its places in this kind of time —we understand it can be a challenge so we’d like for you to make sure your child comes to school.”

The ministry has been utilizing three models of education to respond to the risks brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, including, in-person instruction, purely virtual, or a blended model.

Assistant Director of Education Antoinette Storr outlined how the ministry’s hybrid model will be implemented in primary and high school.

Storr explained that the primary school level will follow a five-day model where the entire population of the schools will be divided into two groups, one of which will attend in-person lessons on Monday and Wednesday and the other on Tuesday and Thursday. 

She noted that Fridays will be utilized as an enrichment or intervention day to address learning losses among identified students. 

The junior and senior high school model will take on a six-day schedule and group the school population into thirds, dealing with one grade level at a time.

She pointed out that education officials want to begin with seventh-grade and 10th-grade students first because these are individuals who would have transitioned in this semester but have never gotten a chance to go to school because of the remote learning in place.

Storr further explained that the mitigation for the learning losses in the high schools will also seek to address psychosocial wellness support.

She noted that those students identified for intervention will be scheduled to attend enrichment classes throughout the week. 

She explained that when added to the population of students on campus for those days, the campus should not exceed a 50 percent population, which is the standard set by the Ministry of Health. 

Students will be given a diagnostic assessment when they return to the classrooms in order to determine where they are and what level of invention model is required. 

During the town hall, Minister of Education Glenys Hanna-Martin once again pointed to the impact the pandemic has had to date on education, labeling it a crisis.

“The recent pandemic has put to great challenge the delivery education in this country and all of the research is telling us that if we do not seriously get a handle on this crisis in education, that we potentially face very very serious consequences.”


About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.