JIS News

Fifty-one rural-area early-childhood institutions are to benefit from the donation of equipment and supplies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as schools prepare to reopen next year.

The items, which were handed over during a ceremony at the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) in Kingston this morning (December 15), include disposable gloves, dust masks, storage bins, garbage bins, hand-washing stations, thermometers, printers, copy papers and print cartridges.

They were donated by United Way of Jamaica in partnership with Scotia Bank, which provided $6.6 million towards the undertaking. An average of four schools across 13 parishes will benefit from the initiative.

ECC Chairman, Trisha Williams-Singh, who accepted the items, thanked the entities for assisting the institutions as some of them prepare to undergo health inspections in an effort to resume in-person classes.

“Public-private partnership is very, very important… . With your donation, these schools will be able to return to face-to-face, because the better equipped the schools are, they will be able to have [physical] contact time [with students],” she noted.

Principal of the Gwen Neil Basic School in St. Catherine, Sandra Young, who was on hand to collect a package on behalf of her school, also expressed gratitude for the intervention.

“Donations such as these are always welcome, and I wish more focus will be on early childhood and the challenges that we do face and others will see it fit to come on board and help us. This is the foundation; this is where it starts, and without the foundation, we are nothing,” she said.

Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communication at Scotia Bank, Yanique Forbes-Patrick, told JIS News that the support was to help the children get back into the classroom as soon as possible.

“We believe that early-childhood education is extremely important and doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to this new distance-learning model that we have had to adopt because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

“We were looking for ways to help and we looked at United Way of Jamaica as a wonderful partner, who is doing great work and also, we wanted to give at the early-childhood level, which is so fundamental for education,” she added.

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