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Minister with oversight for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, says that classes at the University of the West Indies (UWI) will be suspended until after Easter in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Two imported cases of the virus have been confirmed in the island.

Mr. Samuda made the announcement in the House of Representatives on March 12.

The university, in an advisory, said a decision has been made to suspend all classes at the Mona and Western Jamaica campuses for four weeks, effective Friday (March 13).

“All mid-semester examinations scheduled for March 13, 2020 have subsequently been cancelled. Teaching is expected to resume, either online or face-to-face from April 14, 2020 and this may result in the semester being extended.

“All Jamaican students who reside on hall are required to move home during this period. International and regional students are welcome to remain on hall, but are asked to strictly adhere to all instituted protocols,” the advisory said.

It was noted that the Mona Campus will remain open and operational until further advised.

The announcement follows the disclosure by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Thursday (March 12), that all public schools will be closed for 14 days, beginning Friday, March 13.

The Prime Minister said that the decision was made after consultation with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and will be reviewed after 10 days.

Mr. Holness advised parents to use the next three days to make preparations for their children to continue their studies at home.

He informed that the HEART Trust/National Service and Training Agency (NSTA) will close its community-based training programmes with immediate effect.

COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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