(JAMAICA STAR) — Camille and Garnet Foster, a couple from Bullet Tree in Petersfield, Westmoreland, have opened their home to children, providing them with educational opportunities.
More than 20 children gather at the Foster’s home daily to log on to the Internet and gain assess to their online classes.
“The children who you see here do not have access to Internet connection at their homes, and the fact that my home has Wi-Fi, I invite them over, open my Wi-Fi connection, and allow them all to use it to get their schoolwork done,” Camille told THE WEEKEND STAR.
The children, who wear masks and observe other COVID-19 control protocols, such as physical distancing and handwashing, also benefit from free tuition from the couple.
“My husband and I noticed that most of the kids are not at the stage where they should be, so we are also assisting them with their schoolwork,” Camille Foster added.
The Fosters say they have been assisting children in their community since the first week of September.
“When my husband and I started out on the venture, it was just a few parents and children, but since then it has grown into a complete classroom, with over 25 children,” Camille said.
“My husband, who the kids calls ‘Principal’, is an accountant by profession, but since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, he lost his job and has been forced to stay at home. And as for myself, I am just a simple housewife who is the mother of four children, and they, too, are a part of the homeschooling,” she added.
Schools across the island were closed to face-to-face instructions since March, shortly after Jamaica recorded its first two cases of COVID-19. Schools resumed in October, but without face-to-face interactions. The Government has been distributing printed lessons to students and teachers, and students are now required to log on to online classes.
Camille said the parents in Bullet Tree are excited, and they often come over to her house to assist in any way they can. She said that there is one parent who cooks lunch for the children as her contribution to the project.
Parents in Bullet Tree told THE WEEKEND STAR that they are very happy with what the Fosters are doing for their children.
“Mi caah tell yu how mi feel right now,” one parent, who gave her name as Andrea, said. “Camille a di best. When school fail wi pickney dem, she is di one who neva fail wi, an’ everybody inna Bullet Tree thank her and her husband.”
The Ministry of Education has announced that 17 schools across the island will open their doors next Monday under a two-week pilot to see how they manage in a COVID-19 environment. Chantilly Primary School in Westmoreland will be among them.