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Back to school for practical SBAs

Back to school for practical SBAs
Fifth form Food and Nutrition students at the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown completing their SBA this week

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Some secondary school students returned to the physical classroom this week to work on science laboratory exercises and other practical components of their school-based assessments (SBA).

St Vincent and the Grenadines began experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases at the end of December 2020. As a result, schools did not reopen at the start of Term 2 in January.

Back to school for practical SBAs

Myccle Burke, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that the return of students to the classroom is restricted only to schools where students are required to complete SBAs.

This began on Monday, February 22 and includes only fifth and some fourth form students.

The permanent secretary added that this was being done with strict observance of the COVID-19 protocols that have been outlined by the Ministry of Health.

“So, a single gathering would not exceed more than 10 students in a particular classroom so we advise that the entire school be used for these students,” he said.

Burke said schools will remain open for these students until they are able to complete their SBAs, which count towards external examinations.

A decision is yet to be made as to when all students will be able to return to the physical classroom.

“We rely on the Ministry of Health to guide us on this matter. We know that there are parents, students, teachers who long for the day when they can enter into the same space, not virtually, but physically. But we have to emphasise the need for persons to be safe and for learning to continue,” Burke said.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, while speaking on radio this week, also noted the return of some students to the classroom.

The prime minister said there has been a fall in the number of new cases, as well as in the number of infected persons locally. He added that the positivity rate – the percentage of COVID-19 tests that were positive – was very low as well.

Gonsalves said both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education will be reflecting on when students and teachers can return to school, as it is an ongoing discussion, not only in SVG but in other countries as well.

“People are by and large following the protocols and the statutory rules and order which we have passed in relation to wearing masks, the minibuses, going into government buildings, other buildings, private sector buildings and the like and I see it and clearly that is happening. But it’s the vaccine which is going to be preventing you from getting very sick and also will slow transmission,” he said.

At press time, there were 615 active cases in SVG. A total of 1526 cases have been recorded since March 2020, 905 of which have recovered.

There have been eight COVID19-related deaths.