Jamaica delays school reopening amid COVID-19 spike

The reopening of schools in Jamaica has been delayed by a month due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Minister with responsibility for education, Karl Samuda

The revelation was made by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information last evening, August 21, following consultations with the Health Ministry.

The new start date is Monday, October 5 “barring any unforeseen challenges” the Education Ministry said in a statement.

The reopening will be done on a phased basis with re-engagement based on a blended approach, including face-to-face teaching and learning, online and offline computer aided learning, televised learning and printed learning kits, the ministry’s content app and other learning management systems, the statement said.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressing a digital press briefing from the Office of the Prime Minister in St Andrew on August 21.

Meanwhile, the Education ministry will finalise the distribution of tablets to teachers and students at the primary level and the procurement of laptops for students on the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education at Grades 10 -13.

“The Ministry will also activate the Google Suite Learning Management System for all schools and training will be provided on the use of the system,” the statement said.

Additionally, psychosocial support and empowerment sessions will be provided for students, teachers and parents and printed learning kits will be distributed to students.

Educational support programmes will also be extended and new partnerships will be forged to support distance/remote learning.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced stricter curfew measures for the Kingston and neighbouring parishes yesterday amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. Several St Thomas communities have been placed under quarantine following an increase in cases in recent weeks.

Jamaica reported 56 cases of the virus yesterday, bringing the island’s total to 1,349 including 16 deaths. It reported 98 cases the previous day.