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Demographic data and geoinformatics to drive school reopening

Published:Friday | September 18, 2020 | 12:14 AM
Fayval Williams, minister of education, youth and information.
Fayval Williams, minister of education, youth and information.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, with the support of the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), will use geographic information system mapping, demographic and health data to drive the safe reopening of schools.

This was among the strategies discussed at a meeting at the ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices on Wednesday called by the portfolio minister, Fayval Williams.

The meeting also included Minister of State Robert Nesta Morgan; national epidemiologist Dr Karen Webster Kerr, and Director of the Mona Geoinformatics Institute, Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr, as well as Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Grace McLean and Acting Chief Education Officer Dr Kasan Troupe from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

Dr Kerr shared MOHW data on the confirmed COVID-19 cases, its spread, as well as a summary of the inspection of schools, including an assessment of their readiness. School zones have also been assigned vulnerability scores to allow for continued assessment of their COVID-19 readiness.

A Strategic Approach

Minister Williams noted that “the ministry is keen on having a strategic approach to the reopening of schools. There will be variability based on data set analysis and how we as a ministry, the society, communities and institutions continue to evolve in dealing with this pandemic”.

The teams from the ministries will be having further collaboration to improve the formula to ensure that as the school reopening process continues, there is continued emphasis on the safety of all stakeholders – students, teachers and other staff.