Schools to close, but buses to roll tomorrow
Schools across the country will be closed tomorrow, public transportation will roll out as usual, though progressively slower, and commercial activities are expected to be less than brisk in some places.
Jamaicans are focusing on one central activity - voting in what is expected to be a tightly contested election.
Whether or not schools will be used as polling stations, the Ministry of Education has advised that all institutions should be closed tomorrow. The ministry said that schools should begin closing from noon today to facilitate preparation for election-day activities.
"In the case of those schools that will be used as polling stations on election day, principals are asked to ensure that the rooms (auditoriums) and bathroom facilities assigned to the Electoral Office are cleared, cleaned, and all charts and teaching aids removed," the ministry said in a recent release.
"All other areas of the school not assigned for election-day activities should be closed. Principals are further advised that all schools will reopen on Friday, February 26. In cases where schools will not be able to convene on the designated day, school administrators should immediately alert the respective regional directors."
The education ministry further advised that teachers who will be serving on election day should submit their requests in writing to the boards of management of the schools to which they are employed seeking special approval to do so. And chairmen of all boards should also be mindful of the provisions of the Jamaican Constitution, as a basis on which such requests should be granted.
As for customers of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company, Colin Campbell, managing director, noted that there will be no major changes to operations, except that some routes will be closed early.
"Normally, the final trips would go up to 11 p.m., so the only changes we might see would be that some routes would end a little earlier, especially in the downtown area. We are still doing some final reviews as we speak, but for now, only some routes will be closed early. Apart from that, operations will continue as per usual," he said.
"A couple of the top-up centres will be closed early as well, particularly the one in Spanish Town. It normally closes at eight o'clock. I think for election day, it will be closed at four or five o'clock. Overall, there are no major changes," he told The Gleaner.
In the meantime, Meris Haughton, director of communications at Tax Administration Jamaica, indicated that its offices will be operating during normal business hours.
Communications director at the Jamaica Public Service Company, Winsome Callum, also told The Gleaner that its commercial offices will be closed to the public at 1 p.m.