Face-to-face classes present new challenges; marginal benefits

Students conversing
Students conversing (Photo credit: Mary Taylor)

With most schools across the board open for face-to-face classes since the resumption of schools on 3 January 2021, some dressmakers are back in business, but some parents are financially strained with paying for new uniforms for their children. 

Judith McNeil, a dressmaker, is thankful that she has been receiving more jobs to sew uniforms because since the pandemic started, the demand for uniforms had declined with many students strictly doing online classes. “In the first part of the pandemic, people come wid uniforms. I sewed them and none a dem come to pick them up. Up to this day, only one or two come to pick them up but mi still have uniforms weh nuh gone out. Dem nuh want dem again. Mi lose big time,” McNeil explained. Dressmaking is McNeil’s primary job and with less uniforms to make, she had to seek other avenues to earn money to meet her needs. “It’s much better than before because at least mi can see mi way out. I can get the things that I need,” McNeil expressed.

Elaine Morgan, another dressmaker, unlike McNeil has not seen much difference in the number of the uniforms parents have ordered. She explained that some parents are not keen on having many uniforms made for their children because of the uncertainty surrounding how long face-to-face classes will last. She added that since some students don’t attend face-to-face classes every day, some parents don’t see the need. 

One parent, whose child attends the Manchester High School, had bought uniforms for her daughter in anticipation that she would be having face-to-face classes for her first year of high school. Her daughter, however, had strictly online classes and for this new term, the parent had to resort to buying new uniforms. Her daughter had outgrown her old uniforms which are not at the minimum length stipulated by the school. The parent recalls it being difficult to purchase new uniforms because she thought her daughter could have just worn the ones she already had. 

“The money that I spent buying uniforms basically just went down the drain and now I have to be finding other money. I understand that I would probably still have to buy new uniforms for the new year, but it just hurt me that mi waste all that money,” the parent explained. 

Another parent expressed how difficult it was to pay for her daughter’s new uniforms. 

“Based on the amount of uniforms made, it was quite expensive when it was time to pay,” she said.  She went on to say it was hard for her to find the daily lunch money for her daughter who goes to school for the entire week or sometimes three or four days per week. 

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