Tue | Sep 21, 2021

Reconsider face-to-face exams, UWI

Published:Thursday | August 5, 2021 | 12:26 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Jamaica seems like deja vu, but one possible contributor seems to be constantly overlooked.

Just after the general election was held in September 2020, the Government declared the onset of the community spread of COVID-19. At the time, the health minister indicated that the change in the phase of the pandemic could mean that the population may see a steep rise in the number of cases over the ensuing six to eight weeks.

This came not only at the heels of the activities surrounding the general election, but also just a few weeks after the sitting of Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) exams, where students had to sit their papers, face-to-face.

Limited in-person teaching also restarted during the last quarter of 2020 and by the first quarter of 2021, had to again be suspended due to a surge in COVID 19 cases.

The recent CXC face-to-face exams are now winding down, and yet another COVID surge is upon us.

This may all be just coincidence, but as a vast majority of our students must use the public transportation system, one must look at all possible causes of increased transmission for all applicable solutions.

The recent announcement by The University of the West Indies (UWI), that incoming students will have to sit English exams on a face-to-face basis is truly disconcerting.

As an institution of higher learning, we should be looking to the UWI to lead the way in helping to reduce further COVID-19 surges, not to possibly be a superspreader itself.

I call upon the powers at the institution to reconsider its stance and help in the fight to reduce COVID-19 spread, and not to possibly contribute to yet another surge.

HENRY DURBAN