Gov’t suspends all face-to-face classes amid COVID spike
The Government has suspended all face-to-face classes as part of new measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“There should be no face-to-face instruction in all primary and secondary schools, both public schools and independent schools, until April 13,” said Prime Minister Andrew Holness at a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“Students are to be instructed using other modalities, and for clarity, note that this includes students who are to sit the exit examinations,” he noted.
Face-to-face learning was first suspended in March 2020, when the first case of the virus was confirmed in the island, with instructions continuing remotely.
The Government implemented a pilot programme for the phased reintroduction of in-person teaching in November 2020, which was paused in late February as cases of the virus started to spike, with only students preparing for exit examinations engaged in in-person classes.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams, who addressed the press conference, said that the ministry will also suspend its mobile intervention.
This involves going into communities to find students who were not in touch with their schools and engaging them in small groups of five for one and a half hours, twice per week.
“As soon as we are able again, we will advise you,” Williams said.
She noted that the education ministry would continue to absorb the cost of students and teachers who use the Google Suite learning management system.
Up to Sunday, the country has recorded over 35,300 cases of COVID-19, with 18,426 active cases and 533 deaths.