The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

The Honourable Minister of Education, Dee-Ann Kentish Rogers, said that the Ministry and Department of Education are looking at a standard approach in having students return to face-face learning. The roll out of the plan to reopen physical classrooms would have taken immediate effect, concurrent with her pronouncement made in the Government’s Press Conference on Monday, November 22nd.

The Minister said: “We have had a number of questions as to why we are bringing children back to school for face-to-face learning, but it is critically important. We know that based on UNICEF’s reports on education around the region, the projected cost to our nations by virtue of having educational institutions closed is astronomical. For example, Jamaica is projecting a JMD $828 billion loss to its economy through the closing of its schools.

“In order to address the learning losses that have occurred over the past twenty months, Jamaica is being asked to increase their funding for education by US$25 million per year, for the next two years. That’s US$50 million over the next two years.

“So just to put it in perspective in terms of looking at projections in our situation, and what it is going to cost us in order to get our children back on the ball with their education, we must act now. We can see that learning losses are going to have a very material impact, not only on our children now, but in terms of Anguilla’s overall development.”

The Minister said that there must be a push to get the children back in school. “This is something that we have been saying from the inception. It must be our goal. Of course, we will be using the blended learning approach still, so there will be some sessions that will remain on-line.”

In light of this, she provided a schedule specifically for the lower classes of the Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School. She noted: “This is a break-out of small groups of students who will be going back to school: As of tomorrow, Tuesday, November 23rd and Friday, November 26th, only, Form 1A students will be attending school. On Wednesday, November 24th and Thursday, November 25th, only, Form 1B will be resuming school. These face-to-face sessions are arranged in this way in order facilitate smaller classroom sizes,” she said.

She continued to give the schedule for Form 2 students, stating: “Form 2 students will be resuming face-to-face learning on Monday, November 29th and Tuesday, November 30th only. Then Form 2B students will be resuming on Wednesday, December 1st and Thursday, December 2nd only.” She said that Primary School students will not be returning to face-to-face learning this semester.

The Minister insisted: “We are making these decisions based upon the school’s capacity, and they have been taken in partnership with the Ministry of Health.”