"To improve morale and give Calabar Basic School a fresh look in a dark time we gave the exterior a makeover with change in school colors."

Hey everyone! It’s almost the end of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic continues to linger, but we have heard good news in recent days, as some 11 Covid-19 vaccines are in their final stages of trial and distribution could begin this year into early next year. We have been in quarantine mode since earlier this year and it would be great to truly enjoy life once more. With steady progress, aspects of normality are returning, people can go to work and church and schools can resume face-to-face classes.

After an announcement by Jamaica’s Education Minister, Fayval Williams some 17 schools in the country resumed face-to-face classes under a pilot programme, this began on November 9 and will conclude on November 20. She says more schools are being assessed to facilitate face-to-face learning at the end of the ministry's two-week pilot project.

This could mean that the Calabar Basic School could resume face-to-face classes soon, and so the rush is on to get the necessary renovations done. But this has not been confirmed as yet so we will continue to deliver lessons to our 3-6-year-old students in the way we have been doing for the past 2 months; virtually.

It has however been a challenge as teachers, parents and students struggle to adapt to this new way of learning. One of the greatest challenges faced is lack of technological devices (tablets, laptops or smartphones and printers). Teachers are using their personal smartphones to engage these children in online classes, while fifty percent of the students have not joined the virtual classes because they have no devices to do so. The school is now forced to print worksheets for these unengaged students but these worksheets are costly since the school has no printer. Regardless of the problems faced the teachers are working assiduously to educate the young ones entrusted in their care as we will not allow any child to be left behind.

We would really love some assistance in this regard as we know how vital it is for young children to have a good educational start, so, in whatever way you may assist we would be grateful. We also take this opportunity to thank you very much for your donations thus far, we are making great progress in renovating the school so that when it is safe to do so, our children may go back into a good learning environment.

Here is an update on the work done so far:

We rented a backhoe tractor to clear the area and prepare it for fencing as it is important for our students and staff to be safe in the learning environment.

Interaction is important, especially after being in quarantine for a while, students cannot wait to be back in an environment with their peers. Therefore, we are creating another play area to accommodate students in a time of social distancing, as we must instill in them the importance of following rules and having fun while staying safe.

We have also turned the teacher's office into an isolation area for students who might become ill while at school. They are to be isolated until their parents can pick them up. This is very important even after the pandemic ends, as every institution must have a sick bay where students can rest if they do not feel well.

We have cut down a large Guango tree which was hanging over the school. The areas under the trees remain moist causing black mold and fungus to grow on the school roof. This is dangerous as mold can affect the body and lead to sickness, it can also result in infrastructural damage which would be utterly counter-productive to our efforts.

The tree also creates shade over the school gate. By removing it we minimize loitering and large gatherings which can be unsafe for our students.

More sinks were put in to allow for better access to hand washing throughout the day.

We have come a far way, but we have lots more work to do, and as a community I strongly believe we can get this done. Let us give our children a fighting chance, let us invest in the future, let us not fail those who look up to us for help especially in a time where everything seems challenging. Remember it takes a village to raise a child! THANKS IN ADVANCE.

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