21 September has been announced as the date of reopening for public schools in the Territory. The announcement was made by Minister for Education and Culture, Dr. the Hon. D. Natalio Wheatley in an interview with a local media house on 6 August.
In that interview, the Minister disclosed that the reopening of public schools will be implemented in compliance to COVID prevention policy and therefore will take a blended format. Hon. Wheatley said, “We are basically proposing a blended system of online learning and face-to- face instruction. We will not be able to accommodate all the students in school because of social distancing and we certainly will be observing social distancing in the new school year.”
While noting the present COVID 19 pandemic realities the Minister noted that special arrangements are being considered to facilitate social distancing.
Similarly in order to accommodate the proposed face-to-face instructions the Minister said that a shift system is being recommended for schools with large student bodies. “For the bigger schools, they certainly won’t be able to accommodate all the students at the same time, so we are proposing somewhat of a shift system. Some students will be in school, some students will be at home and then, of course, those who are at home will have an opportunity to be at school at some point,” Hon. Wheatley stated.
“In a situation where schools are big enough, and they have small enough student populations to be able to accommodate all the students, then all the students will be able to attend without having to resort to the shift system,” the Minister added.