Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Education ministry preparing for possible school closures in the event COVID-19 outbreak

Published:Sunday | March 8, 2020 | 10:15 AM
Minister with responsibility for education and youth, Karl Samuda.

The Ministry of Education and Youth is taking steps to prepare schools in the event a local outbreak of COVID-19 requires that institutions have to be closed. 

The outbreak of the flu-like illness has spread to more than 70 countries globally since it first emerged in China in December, infecting more than 100,000 people. Some 3,500 have died.   

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness announced that its COVID-19 Comprehensive Response Plan is in place to manage an outbreak in Jamaica. And, in a release about its own plans, the education ministry said it is continuing to have dialogue with stakeholders, including internet providers, to ensure information is delivered to students in the event an outbreak necessitates the closure of schools. It said it is broadening its discussion with education stakeholders through its Quality Education Circles to develop strategies for information sharing.

The ministry said its Curriculum Unit has been preparing online learning kits for uploads to MoEYI websites. Primary Exit Profile (PEP) practise booklets and PEP camp workbooks are also being prepared for electronic distribution to support continued preparation for the national exams for students at the primary level.

Precautionary measures boosted

In addition, the ministry said it has also deposited supplementary funds to the accounts of schools to purchase sanitising material, including hand sanitisers, for use during school hours, in an effort to enhance the capacity of schools to take precautionary measures.

Minister with responsibility for the ministry, Karl Samuda said $30,000 have been provided to primary schools with populations below 950 students and $50,000 to schools with more pupils. High schools have also been provided with $50,000 each. 

“We must emphasise that this money is to purchase sanitising material to ensure preventative measures are employed for the hours when children are in school. We expect that parents will be cooperative with the schools to protect theirs and their children’s health,” Samuda said.

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