PLANS are in place to revert to online learning should staffing levels in school decrease, the head teacher of Grainville said.
Sue Morris said the safety of her staff and pupils remained a priority ahead of an Islandwide return to school on Monday, and she backed calls for teachers to be vaccinated early, with those who had underlying health conditions going first.
The school has spent this week updating its Covid procedures in order to comply with the latest guidelines before the students return from an extended Christmas holiday.
Mrs Morris believes that vulnerable staff should be vaccinated as soon as possible to allow them to return to school and continue with their job.
‘We are frontline workers. We teach up to 30 different pupils per hour for eight hours a day. Vulnerable teachers should be vaccinated first, then the rest of the teachers should follow suit,’ she said.
‘If we are vaccinated, then teachers and students will feel more comfortable coming to school, which will help bring a sense of normality back into the school environment.’
Mrs Morris said there was a lingering anxiety among staff ahead of the return to school as many were scared of catching the virus.
She added: ‘If staffing levels are high, then we can continue to operate in our normal school environment but, if they decrease, then I would prefer to have online learning.We have a robust online-learning system in place and we are confident with it and I believe a lot of students have enjoyed it.’
The school will now be recommending that all students wear masks when in class – something Mrs Morris said would make staff and pupils feel safer when they returned.
‘This recommendation will play a part in reducing stress and anxiety when in the classroom and will encourage students to come back to school,’ she added.
Responding to the news that students will be given teacher-assessed grades this summer, Mrs Morris said the school had been planning for this eventuality since last term.
‘Because of the Covid winter we have had, we predicted this might happen again,’ she said. ‘Since last term we have been creating filing cabinets for the whole of Year 11 for every piece of work they have done. We are constantly assessing them in order to give them the most fair outcome possible when it comes to grading them.’
Year 11 student Dante Nardone believes teacher-assessed grades can help students who feel the pressure of exams.
‘A lot of people struggle with performing in the few hours of an exam but now the grades can be a reflection of the work you have put in all year. At the same time, if you leave it until the last minute, you may struggle with teacher-assessed grades,’ he said.
‘Hopefully if the teachers are feeling generous, they can help boost our grades a bit.’
Fellow student Joao Gomes said he preferred to be in school rather than studying at home.
‘The face-to-face interaction you get in school with your teacher is better than any advice you get given over a Zoom call.’
He added: ‘Due to my parents being high risk I already wear a mask in class but some may struggle to do that as masks can be hard to breathe in and become annoying.’
By Jake Stolte