The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has developed a three-tiered Education in Emergencies response system to alert schools and other public education institutions on the protocols to follow in public health emergencies.
The Education in Emergencies (EiE) alert system is aimed at protecting children in conflict and natural disasters and includes strategies to improve preparedness and ensure children’s right to continued education in times of crises.
The strategies are broken down into three levels. At Level 1 or Green Alert, a Bulletin is sent to all schools outlining tips/precautionary measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19 as guided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW); all schools in proximity to the COVID-19 quarantine facility are duly informed in writing and updates are provided and actions taken as guided by the MoHW.
At Level 2 or Amber Alert, an updated Bulletin is sent to all schools outlining the epidemic nature of the COVID-19 to heighten awareness, to reiterate the seriousness of the threat and for all precautionary measures to be taken without compromise; parents are advised that students with flu-like symptoms should stay home until fully recovered and arrangements are made for all schools to be provided with $30,000 to $50,000 to procure and make readily available to all student and staff hand sanitizers, hand washing soap and Lysol disinfectant. Updates are provided and actions taken as guided by the MoHW.
At Level 3 -Red Alert, the MoEYI ensures teachers and caregivers are provided with support for children’s continued learning regardless of where this takes place – in a classroom, at home or outdoors. It includes:
School leaders being asked to create online spaces to facilitate communication and sharing of learning materials especially for students who are unwell or sitting exit exams e.g. via WhatsApp groups
Schools being equipped with School Management Systems engage the features to support learning and on-going communication,
The skillset of teachers trained in using online learning platforms and in developing online assessments are utilized in preparing learning materials in support of continued learning engagement for students who may not be able to attend school;
Some students will be supplied with tablets with appropriate content uploaded to support learning while out of school;
Partnership with internet service providers to provide free data service at specific times during each day;
Partnership with One and One Communication to provide modem/data cards to be used in remote areas;
Partnership with exit exam bodies to delay examination schedule where necessary;
Rescheduling MoEYI national exams and calendar activities where necessary;
Extending the school year or extending the school days to make up for lost time where necessary;
Deploying the Trauma Teams to schools to provide counselling and psycho-social and emotional support where required;
Having media broadcasts at specific times in each day on varied learning episodes and coping strategies for those in need of psycho-social care
Online learning kits are being prepared by the Ministry’s Curriculum Unit for uploads on the MoEYI websites. PEP Practices booklets and PEP Camp Workbooks have been prepared for electronic distribution to support continued preparation.
There will also be multi-sectoral partnerships to ensure consistency in messages and informed responses.