Principal’s Back to School Welcome Speech

Today we are in a virtual setting to set the stage for the school year for the very first time in the history of education in Jamaica. So at this time I want to welcome you to this our virtual orientation for back to school on October 5, 2020. I am Mr. Roan Green your new principal. It is such a pity that I will not be able to meet with you face to face at the start of a new school year. But I hope that we will get the opportunity someday. The big question on all your minds however is, “How will we be operating come October 5?” You will join your teachers in the Google Classroom, Google meet, Zoom and through Whatsapp. Other teachers may create other avenues for engagement as some among us do not have access and so we will have to get materials to your homes. No matter what will obtain, you must begin to prepare yourselves mentally and emotionally to physically and intellectually embrace the new normal for schooling.

Here at Petersfield High School, all your teachers are committed to ensuring that you will get the best out of the experience; especially those among you who are preparing for external examinations. I implore you to take responsibility for your learning. Manage your time wisely. Follow your timetable as though you were in the physical space here at Petersfield. Your teachers will be on time online for classes as the timetable dictates so be on time and be prepared. Outside of being at home, all classroom rules must be followed. This process if it is to be successful and effective necessitates self- discipline on your part. Teachers will not be condoning any lute behavior while on screen. The Dean of Discipline will elaborate on the rules governing online classes, but let me hasten to instruct you that you must be properly attired for school and you must be respectful.

Parents, you will now better understand how important school partnership is. Now that your children are at school in your homes, we are depending on you to do your part. Yes, these are unprecedented times and I know you are worried and anxious about how you children will fair and whether they will do well. And they can, if you support us. Take an interest in how your child prepares for online classes, check to make sure they are completing and submitting homework; ensure they are properly attired for classes; give them a proper meal and provide them with the resources they need for school. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has made provisions for some students on PATH to receive devices to assist them in benefitting from online classes; encourage them to protect these devices when they get them and use them for school and not for malicious reasons. Keep in close contact with the school. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The guidance counselors, nurse, Dean of Discipline, Vice Principals will be doing home visits at times to check in on progress or assess the need for support. Welcome them and let them help. The Ministry has committed to providing meals for our students on PATH starting in October. Take advantage of the support so that the students will have balanced meals to ensure they learn.

Many of us are panicking because the corona virus is in our very communities and we are scared of the unknown, but take heart and begin to practice good hygiene and social distancing to preserve the health and well- being of your families and friends. Here is an acronym that can remind you students of how to approach the new school year. The tips are from the word CORONA.

We live in unprecedented times, we no longer get to see our friends or go out of our homes for recreation as we would love. But we can begin to embrace a new way of living and be a success at it. So welcome to Petersfield High School’s Virtual Classrooms, may your journey be filled with many exciting tales to tell and excellent results to celebrate. May God bless each and every one of you. Emerge yourselves in a renewed, physically, mentally and spiritually new atmosphere so you can find peace and success.

Roan Green