Written by: Tasha Miller
October 30, 2020
Minister of Education in Jamaica, Fayval Williams, recently announced the phased reopening of some schools on November 9 based on the challenges that some students are facing with online learning. Minister Williams was addressing the recent press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister. She says this test of the E-COVID face to face learning programme will include 17 schools across 9 parishes. These 17 schools were chosen from a larger pool of 73 schools. The nine parishes that will participate in this phased reopening are as follows:
- St Ann
- St Elizabeth
- St James
- St Thomas
However, the safety of the children and full adherence to COVID19 protocols are critical to ensuring a successful outcome of this initiative. Minister Williams outlines that the decision to resume face to face classes was guided by rigorous discussions with health officials, school administrators, and other stakeholders under the Ministry’s E-COVID taskforce.
The concerns around transport to and from school was briefly mentioned as the focus was placed on personal responsibility. Minister Williams noted that students will be required to wear masks at schools and masks will be provided if students do not have. Hand washing stations will also be established as the COVID19 protocols will be strictly observed by school administrators.
The schools that will be involved in the first roll out of this programme in coming days were unnamed. This phased face to face learning is a welcome step after the Hope Vision had enquired of the state minister in the Ministry of Education, Robert Morgan, about the possibility of resuming face to face learning especially in rural communities where some schools are in walking distance. In the rural community of Smithville, Clarendon, I had received reports of some students attempting to learn and do lessons while on the roadside as this is where they could access the internet.
This phased reopening of some schools will run from November 9 to 20.
The Hope Vision will continue to provide the latest updates, and information around the changing nature of learning during this pandemic. It is our hope that the sector will be more settled for the 2021 resumption of school after the upcoming holiday break has passed.