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Aug 17, 2021

Back-to-Virtual School: Disappointment, but Adjustment

Students, parents and teachers were readying themselves for a safe return for face-to-face learning, but their return to campus has been pushed back indefinitely as the COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. Today, a News Five team stopped by Saint Catherine Academy as they were issuing laptops for virtual learning, as prescribed by the Ministry of Education at this time.


Salome Tillett, Principal, Saint Catherine Academy

“We had plan A if we were all back in school; we had our plan B for hybrid and then a plan for only online. And so we are just going to make the adjustments and move forward.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

Schools across the country were in final preparations for the safe return of face-to-face learning on campus, so the announcement by the Ministry of Education to continue with online learning due to the rising COVID-19 numbers came with some level of disappointment from teachers.


Salome Tillett

Salome Tillett

“The teachers miss their students. They were looking forward to being in their classrooms. Teachers like to decorate their class, select themes, they have birthdays, they look at the list of students and start anticipating if they had the student before or if it is a new group. It is exciting to welcome the freshmen, they are excited. That first day of school is just special for teachers, for parents, for students and so we were looking forward to that.”


The disappointment is the same for students and parents, but for different reasons. One of the impacts of the pandemic is the inability for students to interact with their peers, hindering their social development skills.


Leayah Tillman

Leayah Tillman, 3rd Form Student, SCA

“I really wanted face-to-face school cause I find myself that I focus a lot more in face-to-face than I do online and I get to interact mostly with my friends and I don’t have that type of interaction with them anymore.”


Preseias Gillett

Preseias Gillett, 3rd Form Student, SCA

“At first it was complicated because you’re worrying about either getting your work in at that certain time or you’re worrying about the internet going off and it brings a lot of anxiety on you.”


Agnes Novelo

Agnes Novelo, SCA Parent

“Interacting with one another and getting to ask each other questions that they might not be understanding what is happening in the subject area would have been a great asset for them because being at home by themselves, they are actually teaching themselves and it is  difficult for them to be doing that. It has been a real struggle to keep her grades at the standard. It is difficult and she has some days whereby it is good and some days whereby it is bad. And I guess it depends on the mental condition which they are in at the time.”


The new school year is to commence on August thirtieth for primary schools and on August twenty-third for secondary and tertiary schools. Today, the Ministry of Education met with senior administration from Belize District primary schools to address the way forward. At the Saint Catherine Academy, students and parents were visiting the campus to receive the laptops that will be used as learning devices for the online school program.


Salome Tillett

“We were looking forward to having the energy of our students back on campus. We knew that no matter what, we wouldn’t have everybody and our parents have the choice to do only online. As a result of our survey, we could determine that a good number wanted their kids to be in school too so we knew that we would have had quite a good size population, the amount of campus can hold. So we just have to make the adjustments.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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