Face-to-face classes in Jamaica are slated to fully resume on Monday, March 7.
The announcement was made during a virtual Town Hall Meeting on Friday, March 4.
All is set for the full resumption of classes including the readiness of the Ministry of Health to respond to any further eventuality that could arise as a result of COVID-19.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton said in preparation for the full resumption of classes, a sensitisation exercise was conducted for members of “critical teams”, including teachers and support staff.
He further indicated that additional provisions and protocols were instituted at schools, including establishing hand washing and sanitisation stations, and introducing “mask-breaks”.
Tufton said that he and his team plan to visit schools throughout the resumption period, to monitor and “adjust as needed.”
Acting Chief Education Officer in the Education Ministry, Dr Kasan Troupe, who also spoke during the forum, said that at all levels of schools, principals are required to “arrange mask-breaks in a structured way.”
“We don’t want our children to just randomly take off their masks in the classroom, or in their different spaces on the school compound. It has to be structured because we still have to remember that we have a responsibility to keep ourselves safe,” she stated.
Meanwhile, schools with established shift systems have an additional two weeks to streamline their operations to facilitate the full resumption of face-to-face classes.
“The timeline will enable the schools to work through their challenges [and] communicate with [parents], so [they] can know fully, when they will be going back to their normal operations.”
Dr Troupe added that schools on the shift system will have to facilitate a number of changes, given their situation.
“They are beyond their capacities [and] there is a classroom shortage issue [among other things]. The Ministry really [wants] to have all our students back in the whole-day [school] environment, especially in light of the learning losses that we have suffered over the period [of the COVID-19 pandemic].”
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