Speech
Minister of Education, the Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites.

The majority of schools in the Corporate Area and St Catherine operated as normal today. However, seven schools were negatively impacted by the smoke nuisance emanating from the fire at the Riverton City disposal site.

The four Corporate Area schools that were forced to prematurely close include Dupont Primary, Duhaney Park Primary, George Headley Primary and Pembroke Hall High.

This morning Cockburn Gardens Primary & Junior High had contemplated closing early, but remained open after the smoke subsided.

In St Catherine the Hydel Group of Schools was forced to close early, and in the Portmore Municipality Portsmouth Primary closed prematurely. Parents and students should note that due to the adverse effects of the smoke early in the morning, Portsmouth will start and close school at a later time tomorrow. Please consult the school for details.

The smoke nuisance also prevented Waterford High School from opening its doors today.

The Ministry of Education is aware of the challenges to teaching and learning caused by these disturbances, and we commend the leadership and staff of schools affected for going the extra mile to ensure the continued education of our children. We implore parents and responsible adults to take special care to ensure the safety of our children during this period.

In light of the postponement of the GSAT examination, the Ministry encourages teachers, parents and students to use the extra time to revise calmly. We believe that the one-week postponement provides enough time for the smoke nuisance to be controlled in order to facilitate the holding of the GSAT examination.

At a later date the Ministry will advise schools about the recovery of lost instructional time.