Sun | Dec 4, 2022

#TrackingIan | Heavy rain forced suspension of face-to-face classes in western Jamaica

Published:Monday | September 26, 2022 | 8:32 PM
The Torrington to Pennycooke main road in Westmoreland was affected by land slippage today as a result of heavy rains associated with Hurricane Ian. - Contributed photo

While there were no major reports of flooding in western Jamaica, heavy and continuous rains forced the suspension of face-to-face classes at several schools in the region today.

For the first time since school reopened for the start of the 2022-2023 academic year, the education sector was forced to resort to the online modality because of the impact of Hurricane Ian.

Muschett, Anchovy, Petersfield and Little London high schools were among the list of institutions that kept their doors closed today.

Along with an advisory from the Ministry of Education and Youth late Sunday, Roan Green, Principal of Petersfield High School, said precautionary measures were taken because sections of Westmoreland are prone to flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.

“We are having school, not physical, because of the possibility of flooding in the different communities that our students are coming from,” Green said, pointing to the use of Google Classroom for online classes.

“It's a precautionary step for which we are hoping that things will be more favourable tomorrow,” Green told The Gleaner.

In Trelawny, Leighton Johnson, Principal of Muschett High, said because of the heavy downpour, he decided not to have in-person classes.

"It has been raining heavily since 6 a.m., therefore we advised our parents not to send out the students to school,” Johnson said. “The teachers have opened up the Google Classrooms and classes are online.”

At Wakefield Primary, Principal Michael James reported that while there were face-to-face classes for the majority, only some 60 students and teachers turned up at school.

“We have 454 students and about 60 of them braved the rains and are here at school. They will be catered to,” James said. "Our Google Classrooms have been activated and classes will be online until normal conditions return to facilitate in-person teaching and learning.”

Students from William Knibb Memorial High School, who had braved the weather and turned up for classes, were sent home and facilitated online.

There were also no physical classes at Hopewell High School in Hanover. Those students, The Gleaner understands, were also facilitated online.

At Cambridge High School, face-to-face classes were held, albeit with a significantly reduced number of students.

Further south of Montego Bay, Marcia Gordon, Principal at the Catadupa Primary School, said her students were told to access their lessons online as rain pelted the area.

"It was raining very heavily and it was cold, so school was cancelled for the day and the children were online. But the teachers were at school," Gordon said.

- Albert Ferguson

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