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Schools Back In Session!
posted (October 19, 2016)

Today kids countrywide had to shake off that vacation vibe that they had settled into for the past 2 weeks. It was back to school as usual and it was a completely different scene at city schools, instead of those chained gates and empty fields, kids were pouring into the school grounds across the city. For them, it was just another fun day at school, reuniting with their friends and completing their class assignments. But, it is not that simple for the principals or teachers. Sure, most of them are happy to be back in the classrooms but there are still several unresolved issues hovering. Principal at Wesley Upper School, Nicole Welch Middleton, told us more about those concerns. We also spoke to Lureen Ciego, the Principal at St. Ignatius School and she told us how the post- strike school day went.

Nicole Welch Middleton - Principal, Wesley Upper School
"We are fully staffed, this morning, 4 wardens and 14 teachers are here on time and students are not here in 100% but we have majority of our students, we have a record 141 out of 200 and I believe by tomorrow everything should be fully operational and back to normal."

"We started our curriculum right where we left off 2 weeks ago, so we didn't jump it and pick it up where we should be but we started right where we left off and that is where we are going to continue."

Courtney Weatherburne
"How will that approach impact the rest of the year for the kids?"

Nicole Welch Middleton - Principal, Wesley Upper School
"What we were planning on is some make up time but teachers have mixed feelings now about the makeup time because of a memo we received this morning from the Ministry of Education saying that salaries will be withheld not from the management's part but from the Ministry of Education's part, so they are saying that if the salaries are withheld, they don't have to make up any time and that will put us in a crisis because we have a curriculum that needs to be fulfilled and we have the first sitting of the PSE in March."

Courtney Weatherburne"
"What is the approach specifically for those sitting the STD 6 PSE?"

Nicole Welch Middleton - Principal, Wesley Upper School
"We had already made that commitment to students already by running morning classes, evening classes and Saturday classes so that was in place even before the strike so we are not going to take that back, that will be definitely will be done for the students."

Courtney Weatherburne
"So for right now to make up the 11 days, would you guys take it out of the Christmas or how will it pretty much work?"

Nicole Welch Middleton - Principal, Wesley Upper School
"We would definitely have to take it out of our Christmas vacation, we don't like that but then it is a sacrifice all around so we were going to run school a little bit later in December and then return to school the 2nd of January so we can ensure all the days are in before the students are prepared so we can fulfil the curriculum responsibly for the students."

Courtney Weatherburne
"But that is if the Ministry won't withhold or dock the pay?"

Nicole Welch Middleton - Principal, Wesley Upper School
"Won't withhold or dock the pay according to BNTU, the ministry made it very clear to them that the managing authorities had that power and so Luke Palacio had made a plea to the management but now that it has shifted we have to just wait and see."

Lureen Ciego - Principal St. Ignatius Primary School
"It is going perfect I must say, I have full staff back at school and students are here as well so it's a pretty normal day and we are grateful to be back."

Courtney Weatherburne
"And the kids are engaged, they are not still in that holiday, 2 week free mood?"

Lureen Ciego - Principal St. Ignatius Primary School
"I can assure you they are pretty much engaged, they were in the classrooms even before classes began at 8:30 this morning so pretty much engaged and ready to work and so are we."

At St. John's Vianney, classes were ongoing as well, out of over 600 students, only 4 were absent. All teachers were present.

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