Thank you David.
I would like to thank parents and the young people of our island for their patience during the current circuit breaker lockdown.
At the start of this year we were faced with community spread of COVID-19 and concerns that this would rapidly put unbearable pressure on a health service already working at full capacity.
Thanks to the spirit that binds our community together people have done the right thing, you’ve stayed at home, worn masks and kept socially distant.
As the health situation stabilises we are now able to plan a path back to a more normal way of living.
But this week we must keep our defences up, to protect those most at risk of illness as they are offered the certainty of vaccination.
Currently we have 9 primary schools acting as hubs. Vulnerable children and those of essential workers are being taught in tight bubbles and small groups. Our secondary schools have very limited capacity for students and all parents are asked to keep their children at home wherever possible. This is currently the safest thing to do.
On Thursday the primary school hub pupils and staff will move back into their normal local schools.
It is very important pupils remain at home as much as possible so that we can transition back to schools opening normally for all on Monday 1 February.
Extra staff will be coming back to their schools to prepare classrooms and lessons for next week whilst having to keep socially distant.
I would like to thank the caretakers, support staff, cleaners and catering staff who have shown remarkable flexibility to keep our schools safe, clean and fed.
Throughout the last three weeks we have been running, in effect, two different education systems.
Hubs schools have supported the families of our front line workers whilst teachers have organised remote learning for the majority of pupils studying at home.
I have received some tremendous compliments from families about the level of support and engagement provided by their teachers. They have used imagination and technology to keep learning fun and try and keep young people from feeling alone.
This Thursday and Friday remote learning will be scaled down to allow those teachers to set up their classrooms. We ask pupils to use these two days to complete the work you have already been set and consolidate your lockdown learning so that you are ready to get back on track on Monday.
I know that this has been a difficult time for all of us. Some students still face uncertainty over exams this summer and are anxious about their futures.
At the start of this pandemic we made a commitment to make sure the education of our young people was not another victim of COVID-19.
Teachers will do whatever possible to ensure all young people reach their full potential and can progress to the next stage of their education, further studies, vocational training or employment.
But for now we need pupils and students to keep their eyes on their futures. Continue your studies, continue to challenge yourselves and keep up with your school’s curriculum.
However exam grades are awarded, we must ensure that our young people complete their education. In their faces is our future and we have a responsibility to support them achieve the very best.
So this week please don’t let down your guard. Stay at home whenever possible, wear a face covering when out, wash your hands and remain socially distant.
This is how we defeated the threat to our community before, and by working together we will do so again.