Amid the fear of some parents that their children may be behind due to the challenges of the new academic year, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has given the assurance that no new topics will be taught during the first two weeks of school.
Dr Wheatley made this announcement in a live broadcast on September 18 where he also announced that schools will now be reopening on a phased basis.
The Education Minister said academics will not be the main focus of the first two weeks, rather, schools will focus on psychosocial support and teaching children how to function in this COVID-19 era.
“Emphasis will be on various orientations, providing psychosocial support, coping strategies, COVID-19 health and safety tips, classroom etiquette, classroom expectations, including online etiquette, an overview of the course material for the term, submission of assignments, academic ethics,” Dr Wheatley said.
He added: “During week two, emphasis will be on building basic subject readiness skills.”
Dr Wheatley said his assurance is for parents in Grades 7 to 9 who are becoming anxious because they have not yet received their digital textbooks distributed under the Virgin Islands Digital Education (VIDES) programme.
He said his ministry has started distributing the digital devices but has encountered challenges which have disrupted the distribution. He added that the “lack of due care and attention to protecting these loaned devices has contributed to the current challenges”.
“I wish to give parents the assurance, however, that the Unit is working tirelessly to make additional VIDES available and to create alternative solutions to the existing challenges. For those parents who have already collected their devices, please note that the ICT Unit is in the process of emailing the credentials to allow students to access the application on the VIDES. Emails are being sent to the students’ VI schools accounts,” Wheatley added.