Education ministry forms COVID-19 task force

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information today announced the creation of an education COVID-19 management task force (E-COVID) to be chaired by portfolio minister Fayval Williams.

The ministry said the task force was formed in an effort to help bring greater clarity to the road map for the reopening of schools.

“The E-COVID Task Force will arrive at a consensus on the reopening and management of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” the ministry said in a statement today.

Williams made the announcement during a meeting attended by Minister of State, Robert Nesta Morgan, members of the executive of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA), led by President Jasford Gabriel, immediate past president Owen Speid, and secretary general Byron Farquharson, as well as senior officers of the ministry.

“The E-COVID Task Force will comprise representatives of stakeholder groups in the education sector including the JTA, Jamaica Association of Principals of Secondary Schools, the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education, Jamaica Union of Tertiary Students, the Ecumenical Education Committee, UWI Guild of Students, National Council on Education, the Jamaica Independent Schools Association, among others,” the ministry said.

During the meeting, Williams assured the JTA of the ministry’s commitment to maintaining “robust and open” communication with the association.

The ministry said the discussions focused on the infrastructure in place at schools to allow for online and remote learning as well as the administrative protocols, which schools will have to implement for the new school year.

Morgan reiterated the ministry’s commitment to having a comprehensive solution covering health, education and technology to ensure that students, parents, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders will remain safe and engaged.

For his part, Gabriel noted that Jamaica is facing challenging times and commended the ministry for the efforts made to train teachers for online teaching, the preparation and sharing of the Education-in-Emergencies Manual and provision of material for sanitisation in schools, among other things.

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