Thursday, September 29, 2022

NPA Supports Continuing Face-To-Face Schooling

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The President of the National Principals Association (NPA), Valerie St Helen-Henry, has supported continuing face-to-face schooling announced this week by Chief Education Officer Dr. Fiona Philip-Mayer against the backdrop of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

As of December 16, Saint Lucia has been facing a fifth wave of the virus amid fears that although the Island has not confirmed the presence of the Omicron Variant, it may well be here.

“We are very happy that the children are going to return next week,” the NPA President told HTS Evening News on Friday.

“We have a lot of work to do. We think that the face to face instruction is the best way for now because we have a number of gaps that we are trying to breach,” St Helen-Henry observed.

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“We know we are in an environment of being very careful because of health and safety. We have that first and foremost. We have been in this for the past two years. When the children are at school they know what is expected of them so they are safe at school in terms of following the protocols,” the NPA official told HTS.

And while acknowledging that there will be concerns and challenges, St Helen-Henry asserted that the education sector must learn to adapt and live with the COVID-19 virus.

“What if this remains with us for the next ten years? Are our children going to continue to suffer? No. We have to become responsible adults and to know that what we do out there will affect the children. And so we will have the challenges, but we are being educated every day as to what we need to do,” the NPA President said.

“We have to follow the protocols, we have to be vaccinated – this is what is there and we have to try to be responsible adults,” St Helen-Henry noted.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Some of the teachers are also not computer literate and rather face to face. Ohhh fair Helen. The kids they teach are more computer literate. Its also a political affair even if they say it shouldnt be so or that is not the case. The whole world is political and gain of power. Some of us enter humble and get swell headed. Parents we have a brain , lets use it. I know not all brains can work well 🙂 but the majority arent dull. Those are our kids, we put the government there, we need to stand up.

  2. @SMH I was wondering why the figures for yesterday were not released. It is almost 4:00pm on Sunday and still nothing about yesterday. Are you trying to hide something from the parents, students and teachers. Will today’s figures be withheld as well?

  3. I totally agree that face to face is the best. I totally agree our children should be in school but at what cost? We don’t know what is happening with this new wave and this new variant. We need to assess at least for the next two weeks. The NPA is a reflection of our decision-making where most times all factors are not taken into consideration. We hear of a new, more transmissible variant and we are saying our children need to be in school. Can our health system accommodate what may come? God forbid! We are doing so at a time when the protocols remain the same. What can our government do to make us feel more confident. Here are some suggestions –

    (1) the Minister of Health needs to let the technocrats do their work. we don’t want him as the face of COVID. it is difficult to look at him because all I personally see is another variant of COVID.
    (2) shorten the testing period for coming into St. Lucia most countries are going with 24 hours now.
    (3) we need an SOE and more stringent curfew hours at least for the next 14 days. I am sure you can suggest a myriad of other recommendations.

    The educators have voiced concerns about the children being violated at home. If you allow children with a safe environment with parents who can school them then you open up more space for those who cannot do home schooling or those who are in vulnerable situations. These children can be at school more as bringing them in for two days will not solve their problems. Don’t pretend or suggest that two days of school in the miracle for those being violated. A deeper intervention is needed. Since the talk of that issue during the last school year what has the responsible ministries done to protect those children..

    Face to fact or online we experience teachers who do not pull their weight. They cannot even communicate with the children. Some children may be safer and more productive at home.

    I say let us assess the situation for at least two weeks as out heath system cannot handle much. The figures for yesterday were not communicated yesterday evening, is there a reason for that? We need to demand full disclosure before we sent our children to school. And let us begin to consider smart classrooms.

  4. Teacher too, Parent and Student you are one and the same person. I totally agree with you that face to face is the best and that more than 50% of our students are disadvantaged but is that the best time to expose them to the unknown. To those saying teachers had a years vacation, think again cause I know differently. These teachers worked harder during online learning than they ever did in a classroom.

  5. @Teacher too. Thank you for your support. I don’t not have any tablet or lab top. Also, my parents can not afford internet, therefore, my phone is of no use . In addition, hundreds of students are in a similar position.

  6. Face-to- face schooling is absolutely needed at this time. Students have suffered learning lost during the past year, and it will take time and investment in interventions to help them meet standards. School leaders need to always do what is best for students. I am not downplaying the immense threat posed by the pandemic, but our future depends on an educated population. The ministry needs to do everything possible to keep kids in school. Remote learning or virtual instruction does not meet the diverse needs and learning styles of the majority of our students.

  7. Some of us as teachers can not manage the online environment. Let us please support face to face teaching. We need to be student oriented. It is a fact that many more students are academically disadvantaged in the online environment.

  8. Face to face is the best teaching modality for us presently. We obviously don’t have the resources and technology to support on line teaching for our primary and secondary school students. Teachers got 1 year vacation it is time to work.

  9. Some who are complaining are the same ones who were out fetting over Christmas and New Year’s and not following the protocols

  10. This St. HELEN lady really needs to first think before she speaks. Don’t know where or how she gathers her data. Let it be known that her response doesn’t represent all teachers , think it’s just her opinion.

  11. I am one of those teachers who believe that decision for face to face learning during this spike in covid is pure madness. Those making such insane decisions are not the ones whose health will be compromised in our classrooms. Already a teacher’s salary doesn’t commensurate with the demands of the job yet teachers as well as our innocent children are being ordered to report to school regardless of those high covid numbers presently being recorded. Who should be held responsible should students and teachers get infected at any of our schools?

  12. I’ve spoken to a number of teachers and all of them expressed that they would favour face to face instruction. However they are all concerned that with the onset of the fifth wave and the uncertainty of the omicron varient present in St Lucia this is definitely not the best time to expose students and teachers to this modality. Everyone knows that Valarie is an SLP strong campaigner and will agree with everything this government proposes even if he life may be at risk as a result.

  13. I too believe face to face is the best way forward. Those kids have been out of the classroom for too long. We are realizing we ought to coexist with COVID.

Comments are closed.

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