Thursday 9 April, 2020

Schools closed for 14 days as Jamaica tackles COVID-19

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Jamaica is closing schools for 14 days.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced this during a press conference that the government and said it would be effective tomorrow, Friday, March 13, in an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the island.

"We will review [this decision] after 10 days, so the closure will begin tomorrow which would have been a poor turnout day anyway. Parents will have Saturday and Sunday to make preparations for their children. Those schools without internet connectivity will have materials to distribute so that they can continue their education at home," Holness said.

He also announced that the Human Employment and Resource Training/National Service Training Agency (HEART/NSTA) Trust would be suspending its programmes for 14 days as well. 

"All of HEART's community-based training programmes and all Hope training programmes will be closed. We will update after 10 days whether it will be extended or not," Holness said. 

Earlier today, anxious parents descended on the Holy Childhood High School for Girls to pick up their children after an urgent email sent out by the school’s administrators.

An email sent out by the principal, Sister Maxine McIntosh, advised parents to pick up their children after it emerged that one of the students had been in contact with one of the two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the island.

“Please be advised that classes will be suspended at 10.40 am today in order to facilitate the sanitization of the campus. School will reopen tomorrow ... please make arrangements for the safe transportation home of your daughter/ward.

"Please note that this is NOT A NOTICE OF CLOSURE OF SCHOOL. Classes will resume tomorrow at the usual 7.30 am,” the email advised.

This particular correspondence preceded the directives from the Government and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture that all schools will be closed for 14 days effective Friday.

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