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Shift system starts Monday for St Mary’s and JSS students

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By Elesha George

The students of St Mary’s Secondary
School (SMSS) in Bolans will have to share a campus with their peers at the
Jennings Secondary School (JSS) from Monday, January 27th, 2020, as
the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Works attempt to execute a
permanent fix to the SMSS schoolyard.

 “The plan is as of Monday morning we are activating that
shift system…Jennings Secondary has a student population of 553 students, St
Mary’s Secondary has a student population of 209, so the students in St Mary’s
can fit in Jennings twice over,” the Director of Education, Clare Browne, said.

SMSS was closed indefinitely on Monday
after the authorities were unable to rectify the effects of heavy rains on the
school compound.

From next week, it is expected that
students who attend JSS will operate on a shortened timetable by giving up 10
minutes from each of their classes, and ending their school-day an hour
earlier, at 12.30 pm, while sessions for SMSS students will be held from 1 pm
to 4:30 pm each day.

Under the new arrangement, the JSS fifth
formers will be allowed to continue classes until 1.30 pm, unlike the other
forms.

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“We have met with the Antigua and
Barbuda Transport Board, the Motor Pool Manager, and he indicated that he would
be able to work out the logistics of moving the students from Jennings at 12.30
and getting the St Mary’s Secondary School students into there for 1 o’clock,”
Browne said.

After meeting with teachers from the JSS
on Wednesday, the Director plans to meet with teachers and parents of the SMSS
today to settle on the shift system arrangement.

Browne, who has been unable to give a
timeline for repairs to be completed at the Bolans school,  stressed that there was no quick fix to
the problem at SMSS.

“We have to at least put some structures
in place to ensure that we don’t fall back into the situation that we find
ourselves in now,” he added.

Meantime, the SMSS fifth formers have
reportedly been attending classes at the Bolans Wesleyan Holiness Church since
yesterday, as they continue to prepare for CXC examinations in May/June.

The SMSS Principal, Casey Phillip, is
expected to meet with his staff today to discuss the temporary solution.

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