While giving a clearer picture as to how students will be accommodated temporarily to start the school year on a shift system, Minister of Education Myron Walwyn said parents should not re-register students far away from home, adding that it is not mandatory now for students to wear school uniforms.
The raft of changes follows serious damage to schools this month during Hurricane Irma.
“Uniforms that were purchased before may be worn, but uniforms are not mandatory at least in the first term. This is the case for all schools across the territory,” the education minister said.
Turning to the shift system, he explained that, for it to flow properly, parents should re-register primary school students for the new academic year.
“I am asking that students be registered in schools in the areas in which they live or in the immediate outskirts of where they live,” added Walwyn.
He previously announced that the shift system will begin November 6 for primary school students and for junior school students from grades seven to nine.
Students will attend sessions between 8am and noon, and from 1pm to 5pm at various locations.
“During this time, lunch will be served between 12 noon to 1pm. Students between the ages of 5 to 8 will also transition into this system.”
Walwyn also formally named the public schools that will be used to facilitate the shift system.
They are: Willard Wheatley Primary, Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies, Althea Scatliffe Primary, Ebenezer Thomas Primary, Francis Lettsome Primary, Joyce Samuel Primary, Claudia Creque Educational Centre, Bregado Flax Educational Centre (primary division), Alexandrina Maduro Primary, and Ivan Dawson Primary.
Persons seeking to re-register students can do so by visiting respective schools to speak with principals.
“Registration will be done at the Leonora Delville Primary School for persons on the western end of the island. And, as the Enis Adams Primary School has been devastated, the registration for this institution will be done at the Althea Scatliffe Primary School,” the education minister said.
He also stated that the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies is intact, and all students of that institution should start school on October 5.
In relation to the island of Virgin Gorda, Walwyn announced that the primary section of the Bregado Flax Educational Centre will be used to accommodate a shift system.
He explained: “The Robinson O’Neal Memorial Primary School (ROMP) has been deemed substantially unusable. Though there are some classrooms that are still intact, I would prefer not to have our students in that environment.”
“The Bregado Flax Educational Centre (BFEC) – secondary division – has suffered tremendous damage and cannot be used. The college campus on Virgin Gorda, though it received some damage, with some remedial work, can relatively quickly be in use again.”
“However, the primary section of Bregado Flax is largely intact. We intend to use the primary section through a carefully orchestrated shift system to accommodate ROMP and BFEC secondary division,” added Walwyn.
He noted that members of the business community on Virgin Gorda are willing to assist in rebuilding.
“I have been approached by the representatives from the business community in Virgin Gorda where a pledge was made to fix the three schools on that island. I intend to meet with these persons very quickly, and I thank them for that much needed offer.”
Anegada and JVD
The education minister, in the meantime, said he is still reviewing a proposal to have students accommodated in a section of the school on the island of Jost Van Dyke (JVD). He however announced other arrangements for the students.
“Our initial plan for Jost Van Dyke was to integrate Jost Van Dyke Primary students into the Ivan Dawson Primary School, and the secondary [school] students to continue to attend the Elmore Stoutt High School as was the custom prior to the passage of Hurricane Irma. However, the faculty of the Jost Van Dyke institution suggested that parts of the school are still usable, and they would like to have discussions with the community to see if the students can use that particular part of the school.”
“I am thankful for their initiative and I find much merit in their request, since transportation from Jost Van Dyke is a challenge at this time. I would however request – while I review their initiative, that the secondary students on Jost Van Dyke be made to attend the Elmore Stoutt High School. All previous arrangements are still in place to accommodate secondary students from Jost Van Dyke,” Walwyn further said.
He, in the meantime, stated that Claudia Creque Educational Centre on Anegada is largely intact, and classes will commence there on October 5.
More information is to be provided in the coming week regarding the reopening of schools, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith announced last evening, September 28.
“Next week Minister Walwyn will be announcing plans for junior school as well as students enrolled at H Lavity Stout Community College,” he said.
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