JIS News

The National Health Fund (NHF) has handed over 100,000 face masks and 5,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) self-test kits to the Ministry of Education and Youth for distribution to schools.

The provision of the items is aimed at containing the spread of the virus in educational institutions as the country experiences a fifth wave of the pandemic.

A similar donation of 400,000 masks was made to the Ministry by the NHF earlier this year.

At the handover ceremony on Wednesday (May 25) at the Ministry’s National Heroes’ Circle headquarters in Kingston, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, thanked the NHF and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, noting that the support is critical as students sit examinations.

“We have gone back to the mask mandate in schools because of the fifth wave and the numbers that we saw earlier in May. There has been a big jump week over week in our schools, and so we had to act immediately to restore the mask mandate,” she said.

Minister Williams noted that the donation is critical to the continuation of the in- person learning modality, which she said, enables more effective learning, and is the foundation for important social development.

She reminded parents/caregivers to ensure that children have a mask before leaving for school and to encourage them to wear the masks and sanitise regularly to protect themselves from getting infected.

State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert- Flynn, said it is critical that schools have access to adequate supplies of masks as the country experiences a fifth wave of the pandemic.

“It is also important to have these self-test kits so that our children can get tested. We want to continue to ensure that our children, the most vulnerable, that they are protected. We do not want to stop education at any point,” she added.

For her part, Director, Health Promotion, Public Relations and Customer Care, NHF, Shermaine Robotham, said that the agency recognises the importance of responding when there is a need.

“In this COVID crisis…, we knew that for this fifth wave, we had to respond especially to the Ministry of Education and the children with these masks, as we know that exams are going on,” she noted.

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