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Monday, January 25, 2021
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With Virtual Classrooms Not Reaching All Students, Education Responds to Questions

Now that the fall semester has begun, Virgin Islands students, parents and educators are faced with the challenging realities of distance learning, not least of all that laptops designated for each of the territory's students have not reached everyone.

Education Officials Urge Patience as Virtual School Set to Resume on Sept. 14

Parents are urged to have patience and summon the proverbial village as the virtual school year starts on Sept. 14 after multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
viNGN Chief Information Officer Daryl Wade, left, pores over a map with lead field technician Celestino White Jr.

Internet Providers Detail Plans to Keep V.I. Connected During Pandemic

As just about everyone shifts to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, internet providers have seen a massive surge in traffic and say they are working to bridge the digital divide the virus has made so glaringly apparent.
Education Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin urged families to stay at home and not socialize while schools are closed. (Source photo by James Gardner)

Plans in Place for Start of the School Year – and Subject to Change

Questions were flying at a rate of 12 per minute as close to 700 viewers tuned into The Press Box on Thursday night to hear the V.I. Education Department’s plans for safely reopening schools amid the ongoing pandemic.
In this 2011 photo, Central High students leave school early after a mysterious odor caused classes to be canceled. (Source file photo)

Central High Students Missing Second Week Due to Smells

Students at St. Croix Central High are now entering their second week without class and with no end in sight, due to ongoing complaints of an unpleasant smell. Central High School will remain closed on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
At a packed community meeting Thursday, Education Commissioner Racquel Berry-Benjamin details the department’s plans to move three schools. (Source photo by James Gardner)

Two Schools Moved, One More to Go, Officials Tell Community

Following a news conference earlier this month that ended in uproar, Education officials held a second meeting to discuss the reorganization of three public schools on St. Thomas after more deficiencies were found in the main building at CAHS.

V.I. May Lose Teachers Due to Visa Delays

The territory, already dealing with a teacher shortage, may lose a number of mostly Filipino teachers here on J1 visas, due to a delay in applying for visa extensions. Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) urged local officials to act quickly to prevent the loss of teachers. “Recently my office was contacted by concerned teachers who’s J1 Visas as visiting teachers had not been extended. These teachers were recruited by the Virgin Islands Department of Education to work and educate the children of the Virgin Islands, in areas of Math, Science, Library Science, Special Education, etc. The teachers in question have been working for several years and were requesting extensions," Plaskett said. “With the upcoming school year fast approaching, the Virgin Islands cannot afford to lose any of its teachers. It is incumbent upon all of us to push our children forward - whether that is supporting access to infrastructure materials, funding, or making sure there are enough teachers for the classrooms," she said Plaskett said the State Department has always been strict and had clear requirements and deadlines for submission of materials from Visa holders and their sponsors. "We know that these teachers play a vital role in the current educational landscape and we are doing whatever is possible to support them. As these visas are also never guaranteed we are offering our support the Department of Education with additional programs to augment our teaching abilities," she said.

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