With face-to-face classes scheduled to resume on a pilot basis at 17 schools next week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has implored parents to keep ill children at home.
“If someone else’s child is ill, the likelihood is that your child could get ill. So if you are ill yourself as a parent, if your child is ill, then you have to ensure that, based upon the Disaster Risk Management Act and the Orders in that Act, that you don’t send an ill child to school,” Holness said.
“I use the term ‘ill’ because if it is any flu-like symptoms, you should err on the side of caution and not send that child to school. Get medical attention before you venture out because we know that there are some parents who will just carry the child to the school gate, leave the child and take off,” he added.
The prime minister was speaking during a ceremony for the handover of devices under the Tablets in Schools programme at the Drews Avenue Primary and Infant School in St. Andrew on Wednesday (November 4).
He reminded parents that they play an integral part in ensuring that students and teachers at the schools their children attend remain healthy, and urged Education Minister Fayval Williams to engage the parents during the pilot exercise to ensure that they are cognisant of their role.
“I am sure that when you go into the pilot, you will be putting in measures to ensure that the parents are properly informed and that they are a part of the pilot exercise,” he said.
The 17 schools across nine parishes, with approximately 6,000 students, will offer in-person classes from November 9 to 20, under the two-week pilot programme.
The test run will facilitate 12 primary schools and five secondary institutions, across the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester, Portland, St. Ann, St. Elizabeth, St. James, Westmoreland, St. Thomas and Trelawny.
The 17 schools were selected from a pool of 73 institutions with 58,540 students that were assessed to be of low risk when considering factors such as enrolment capacity, Internet availability and reliability, access to water, and distance travelled to school.
In terms of protocols, all students must wear a mask, and schools are forbidden from turning back students who are not wearing safety gear bearing school colours.