WAKEFIELD, Trelawny – Face-to-face classes are expected to resume at Muschett High School in Trelawny on Tuesday morning, one day after flood waters cut off access and forced administrators to provide classes online.
According to acting principal of the two-shift school, Marisal Small Walker, the handful of students who managed to make it to school on Monday were sent home out of fear that they would be marooned if the situation worsened.
“The road is impassable so we had to take a decision to dismiss school a little earlier for the morning shift as we are trying to get them [students] home now so if the rains come again they will not be trapped here,” she told reporters.
“This [Monday] morning we only had 53 students present at school on the morning shift, which has a [student] population of 800. The afternoon shift, likewise, we might have to cancel at this time, considering that no vehicles are coming in from the Falmouth section. I just heard from one of the bus operators, and they are saying they will not chance it. So we may just have to cancel school for the afternoon shift today,” she added.
They eventually resorted to a virtual approach to learning for their 1,455 students on Monday.
“We have activated our teaching and learning emergency protocol, which is to have our students being sent work in the WhatsApp group, as well as the Google classrooms. And that’s what we are doing right now,” Small Walker said.
She explained that the majority of students attending the school are coming from an area where motorists were confronted by a body of water in the Logwood Valley section of Wakefield before reaching the larger body of flood waters on the road leading to the school.
Councillor Jonathan Bartley (Jamaica Labour Party, Wakefield Division), who visited the school, appealed to the National Works Agency (NWA) to remove silt from a dry pond which used to absorb flood waters in the area, something he believes will prevent flooding in the future.
“Right now it affects the school. The children cannot go to school. They cannot cross, people going to work they cannot cross,” said Bartley who added that he has made similar appeals in the past but to no avail.
When contacted Community Relations Officer at the NWA’s Western Office Janel Ricketts said she would seek the advice of the technical team.