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Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Grace McLean, says all schools are receiving attention for a “safe reopening” in September.

Speaking at a virtual forum on August 13, to update stakeholders on the Ministry’s plans to make schools safe against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Dr. McLean said international and local data are being used to “inform the response to the pandemic”.

“So, rest assured that all public and private institutions across the island are being prepared to effectively cope amidst this crisis,” the Acting Permanent Secretary said, adding that the Ministry has developed an ‘Education in Emergency’ manual, which has been distributed to all schools, as part of measures to deal with COVID-19.

She said while the education sector has been hit significantly by the crisis, the Ministry is “proactive in its arrangements to safeguard the lives of all our education stakeholders as we prepare the system for this new normal for education services delivery”.

The Acting Permanent Secretary appealed for co-existence with COVID-19. “We will do everything to ensure the safety of our students, teachers, administrators, and all persons who keep the ‘wheels’ of the education system turning,” she said.

Dr. McLean also lauded partners in education, such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the CARICOM Secretariat, which have contributed significantly to the advancement in education “with consistent investments”.

The forum was held under the theme ‘Managing the Jamaican Education Landscape during the COVID-19 Pandemic: From Planning to Implementation’, to provide a platform for the Ministry’s policymakers to inform stakeholders of the plans and policies put in place to safeguard the education system during emergencies, and to open the opportunity for the public to gain insight into the planning, policy and implementation process undertaken by the Ministry.

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