CHILDREN and headteachers have greeted the return to school this week with enthusiasm after a six month pause to in-class learning.
Minister for Education John Cortes visited all the schools and talked to the headteachers about their thoughts for the school year.
Director of Education Jackie Mason spoke glowingly of the efforts being made to protect children from COVID-19 that should be enough to reassure parents.
“Today we have had a further meeting with the Director of Public Health, Dr Bhatti, advising us on possible scenarios that could arise and how we would deal with those,” said Mason.
All pupils except year 12s returned to school between September 2-4 after lockdown sent children home in March.
Senior Education Adviser, Keri Scott said: “The excitement was evident in the children’s faces as they made their way into the school on their first day.
“Head Teachers have described the first day back as joyous.
“There was a definite buzz in the air.
“We understand that there is apprehension in the community, and this is to be expected.
“Our top priority remains to ensure the return to school is a safe, smooth and happy one for all.
“We are doing our utmost to keep abreast of the situation as it develops and put appropriate measures in place to safeguard our learners and staff.”
Minister for Education, Prof John Cortes, was grateful for the effort made to get back to some sort of normality.
“I visited some of the schools today and was so pleased to see the activity and the excitement in staff and pupils alike,” said Cortes, who took over Education after Licudi left the Cabinet.
“It was the closest to normality I have seen in months.
“There were strict protocols in place, which was very reassuring.
“I was so pleased to feel the eagerness to resume the learning journey.”
Heading to work
Headteachers were given a chance to express themselves too and they were very optimistic.
Michelle Barabich headteacher at Westside School said: “It was a great feeling to welcome students back to school.
“It was evident that they were happy to be back.
“Having students in school gave us hope that we can get back to normalcy and most importantly get back to the business of teaching and learning.
The headteacher of neighbouring school Bayside, Michael Tavares, expressed his hope that schools would remain open throughout the school year.
“Let us focus on the education and well being of our children,” he said.
“We will always have their best interests at heart.”
“Children with shining morning faces, bursting with excitement as the school doors opened were welcomed into the school building they had been denied for so long,” said Robert Lomax of the Hebrew Primary School
Sonia Lopez, St Bernard’s Lower School acknowledged the fears of parents.
“It is perfectly understandable to be apprehensive about returning your child to school, but trust us,” said Lopez.
“We are ready to welcome your child back and to provide the elements of their learning journey that were deprived of during lockdown.
“Together, we will ensure each child is able to grow into a happy and well-rounded individual surrounded by their friends in a family-like school community.”
Desirée Holmes of St Bernard’s Upper School affirmed this effort: All the hard work and organisation that has occurred over the summer holidays have ensured a smooth transition into our ‘new norm’.
Rosanna Hitchcock, St Paul’s School was poetic about the restart: Seeing the smiling faces of children and adults alike was confirmation that, it might be stormy now but we know that it won’t rain forever.
“Parents need to keep to social distancing rules at dismissal
times, both outside school and within the playground” recalled Priscilla Cruz of Notre Dame School.
“The staff and pupils are delighted to return to school routines.”
Jessica Sanguinetti, of St Mary’s School described ‘rainbow of smiles that trickled into school on their first day back’.
Charmaine Burgod and Elaine Benzecry of St Joseph’s Lower School said:
“The look of excitement on the beaming faces of our children coming into school for the first time in so long has made all the hard work worth it!
Fiona Ferro, Governor’s Meadow School headteacher was upbeat.
“The start of a new academic year is an exciting time for a teaching and learning community; reconnecting with our pupils and parents or carers.
“It is even more exciting this academic year for Governor’s Meadow Lower Primary School as we welcome all our pupils back into school post-lockdown.
“The smiles on our pupils’ faces and that of their teachers and
parents says it all.
“The start of a new academic year marks the continuation of every child’s learning journey, building bridges and developing confidence in our learners.
“As we start this academic year’s new normal schooling, our initial focus is on our pupils reconnecting with their friends and teachers.
“This will be the cornerstone of successful pupil learning nurturing and building confidence in our young learners.
“There is most definitely a genuine buzz about the school as we go about our teaching setting new ground rules as to how we can keep each other as safe as possible together.
“We are excited about the creativity that will return to our classrooms and the fun learning that will ensue as the learning journey begins … That is the joy of teaching.
Mrs Lizanne Andrews, St Anne’s School concluded: “It was so lovely to see so many beaming faces of new and not so new pupils of ours, walking through the school gates.
“There was a feel of normality and both parents and pupils were excited.
“Watching the different year groups, coming into school, all following procedures and wearing their striking red uniforms was a proud moment for myself and the rest of our staff.”