Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Alando Terrelonge, says that secondary-school administrators have responded well in putting safety measures in place for the reopening of institutions.
He said that the guidelines recommended by the Ministry have been implemented to safeguard the health of students and staff.
He noted that the Ministry provided funding to ensure that all schools have sanitisation equipment.
“I am very impressed with the measures that have been implemented to ensure that all safety protocols have been achieved. They have gone above and beyond to protect the health of persons who enter the institutions, even establishing safety zones where students can have time to remove their face masks,” he noted, during a visit to the Cedar Gove Academy in Portmore on Monday (June 8).
Cedar Gove was one of two schools in the St. Catherine community visited by Mr. Terrelonge to welcome students who were returning to school for the first time in three months. The other was Bridgeport High School.
Schools were closed on March 13 as the Government put measures in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Secondary schools across the island have opened their doors to accommodate fifth- and sixth-form students who will be sitting the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), beginning July 13.
Mr. Terrelonge commended the measures put in place at Cedar Grove, including establishing isolation areas, social distancing markers, and ensuring that nurses are stationed at the schools.
“It shows that the school leadership has full understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, noting that students and parents are cooperating with the safety procedures.
Principal of Cedar Grove Academy, Lacey-Ann Blake, said the school invited health officials to address the students to prepare them for the new safety measures. She said the manuals provided by the Education Ministry also guided the process.
Over at Bridgeport High School, the State Minister said there was a “collective effort” between the Ministry and the school administration to get the institution ready.
He noted that the teachers have shown commitment, despite the challenges, “because education is the goal that they want for the students”.
Principal of Bridgeport High, Beverley Harris, told JIS News that there was “open communication” between the school and the parents.
She said that the teachers had done a lot of work before the closure of school on March 13 to prepare students for external examinations and believe that a July sitting is the best option for the students.
“We want it to happen in July. We are prepared, and too long a gap for the students to sit the examination is not good for them,” she said.