Phew! Stu­dents happy to be back in school

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Kavarly Arnold and Ash­ley An­guin/ Gleaner Writers

DE­SPITE THE threat of con­tract­ing the coro­n­avirus, most stu­dents from sec­ondary schools in western Ja­maica were happy to be back, phys­i­cally, in school yes­ter­day to pre­pare for their ex­ter­nal ex­ams. They are hop­ing that the month-long re­fresher pro­gramme to pre­pare them to sit the Caribbean Sec­ondary Ed­u­ca­tion Cer­tifi­cate (CSEC) ex­am­i­na­tions and the Caribbean Ad­vanced Pro­fi­ciency Ex­am­i­na­tion (CAPE) will be enough to help them to ace the ex­ams since the on­line classes, ac­cord­ing to them, were in­ef­fec­tive.

The ex­ams are sched­uled to get un­der way on July 13, and the re­fresher pro­gramme will end on July 3.

Schools were closed in March by the Gov­ern­ment as part of ef­forts to limit the spread of the coro­n­avirus (COVID-19). Since then, stu­dents had to ad­just to on­line learn­ing via var­i­ous medi­ums such as Zoom, Google Class­rooms, and What­sApp.

Mt Alver­nia High School fifth-for­mer Noelle Thorpe said de­spite feel­ing ner­vous at first about go­ing back to school, she knows that fo­cus­ing on pre­par­ing for ex­ams is what mat­ters.

“I was a bit anx­ious at first be­cause I know some peo­ple don’t see the coro­n­avirus as a real is­sue and might not ad­here to the rules.

How­ever, I shook off that feel­ing and came be­cause I know what I have to do,”Thorpe said.

“I hon­estly don’t think that it (on­line classes) were enough be­cause I for one didn’t do enough on­line work per se. I just hit the books re­ally hard. There wasn’t a set timetable for each class and what we should do. Hence, I don’t think the on­line classes were enough,” she added.

Mt Alver­nia stu­dent Sarita Ste­wart is happy to be back at school af­ter de­scrib­ing the on­line classes as in­ef­fec­tive. She is hop­ing that the month of phys­i­cal classes will be enough prepa­ra­tion for her, go­ing into next month’s ex­ams.

“I was a bit scared com­ing back, yes. How­ever, Mt Alver­nia is putting things (safety mea­sures) in place for us, so that re­leases the ten­sion. I’m also ex­cited to see my friends and want to hug them, but sadly, I can­not,” Ste­wart said.


“The on­line school wasn’t ef­fec­tive at all be­cause of the many dis­trac­tions and In­ter­net prob­lems. It wasn’t easy to fo­cus with all the dis­trac­tions, and some teach­ers, hon­estly, didn’t care,” she added.

Dar­ren King, a sixth-form stu­dent at Her­bert Mor­ri­son Tech­ni­cal High School, said the re­turn to school is too early.

“I didn’t re­ally want to come back to school this morn­ing. I don’t think it’s safe to be back so early due to the virus be­ing at large. Also, there is no cure (vac­cine) read­ily avail­able. I think the ex­ams could be put off to a later date.

“We are not men­tally pre­pared for ex­ams be­cause be­ing re­laxed for so long, it is hard to get into that mind­set. Most of the prepa­ra­tions which were to be done from March were cut short, so we didn’t get to learn all we should. I per­son­ally didn’t have any on­line classes. My teach­ers didn’t see it nec­es­sary at grade 13 (up­per six) to have on­line classes,” he added.

Clifton Suban, a sixth-form stu­dent at Frome Tech­ni­cal High School, said that he was happy to be back in school so that he could prop­erly pre­pare for next month’s ex­ams.

“I feel good about go­ing back to school be­cause I want to pass my CAPE. I am not wor­ried about the virus. We wear a mask, and the school pro­vides san­i­ta­tion, so we just have to fol­low the pro­to­cols,” said Suban, who was also the cap­tain of the daCosta Cup team.

“The on­line teach­ing never did a work. Not all the time we get to com­mu­ni­cate and not all the stu­dents had In­ter­net and re­sources. I think this one month will help once you’re se­ri­ous,” he added.

Owen Dixon, stu­dent coun­cil pres­i­dent of Wil­liam Knibb Me­mo­rial High School, said he felt safe go­ing back to school with the safety pro­to­cols put in place.

“Sani­tis­ers and masks were pro­vided, and we have to main­tain so­cial dis­tanc­ing – six feet apart in each class. Ev­ery­one is get­ting along and not com­plain­ing,” Dixon said.

Mt Alver­nia High School stu­dents wash their hands at a sta­tion that was set up by the school to mit­i­gate against the spread of the coro­n­avirus.

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