The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has developed a psychosocial plan to help students, staff and parents cope with the changes caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, said that the plan, developed by the Guidance and Counselling Unit, will guide interventions during the first term of the new academic year, which begins October 5.
“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that this will be an important area of support for our parents and students,” she said while addressing a virtual press conference on Wednesday (September 30).
Minister Williams informed that the Guidance and Counselling Unit, in collaboration with guidance counsellors and clinical service providers, will provide counselling, psychosocial and empowerment sessions for the various stakeholders.
“The unit will continue to support guidance counsellors to develop and implement psychosocial plans at the school level and will monitor the progress for greater impact. All schools are expected to implement a psychosocial plan,” the Education Minister said.
She noted, as well, that tele-counselling will continue in collaboration with the Child Guidance Clinic, supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In addition, students who were referred to the Child Guidance Clinic will continue to benefit from ongoing counselling though not in school.
“Thirty-five psychosocial helplines for parents are available across all seven regions through the efforts of the National Parenting Support Commission in collaboration with UNICEF, Victoria Mutual Foundation and Fight for Peace,” she added.
Minister Williams further informed that youth empowerment sessions were implemented by the Ministry’s Youth Division with a focus on students’ safety and psychosocial care as well as their readiness for back-to-school.
In the meantime, the Education Minister informed that the Government will continue to provide nutritional support to students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) through Nutrition Products Limited (NPL).
“Schools have been asked to submit information this week. This will allow NPL to begin distributing products to the schools next week,” she said.