KINGSTON, Jamaica – Strike action taken by taxi and bus operators on Monday, forced the early closure of some schools but most operated without any disruption to their regular activities, according to the Ministry of Education.
School administrators across the island have reported some or no disruptions to their school operations, the Ministry said.
It cited reports to its regional offices, which indicate that while some students were late and a number of teachers were absent, most classes were conducted in the face-to face-modality.
In Region 1 which covers Kingston and St. Andrew, 95 per cent of the schools operated the face-to-face modality with the remaining five per cent using the remote and mixed modalities. Two Corporate Area schools – Tivoli High and Kingston High – dismissed classes at midday due to staff shortage.
Region 2, which is made up of St Thomas, Portland and St Mary, had one school reporting early closure at 1:00 pm because four teachers were unable to get to school. Overall, in Region 2 there was lower than normal attendance and late arrivals.
In Region 3, comprising St Ann and Trelawny, Cedric Titus High in Trelawny, dismissed classes at 12:30 pm because the taxis had stopped moving by then and Bounty Hall Primary also in Trelawny operated remotely. Otherwise there were no disruptions reported.
In Region 4 – St James, Hanover and Westmoreland – 22 of the 25 schools were open for face-to-face instruction. Three high schools – Merlene Ottey, Spot Valley and Manning’s – engaged their students using the virtual modality. Two primary schools engaged students virtually while the other 138 operated normally.
Region 5, which is Manchester and St Elizabeth, noted no adverse impact of the strike action on schools and stated that all had normal operations.
Region 6, which covers the parish of St Catherine reported that all schools operated mixed modality except one which had a broken sewerage system. Most schools in the urban centres dismissed classes early while those in the rural interior operated in person with no disruption.
In Region 7, which covers the parish of Clarendon, all schools in the town areas were affected in terms of low attendance. They employed the mixed modality. The rural schools were not affected and operated as per usual. The affected schools were dismissed early.
Earlier in the day, Education Minister, Fayval Williams, urged school administrators not to lock out students or send them home randomly where they turned up for classes late and where there was an inadequate number of teachers.
“The safety of the students and leadership are critical at this time,” the Minister said.
It had been reported that a number of students and teachers had either not turned up for classes or arrived late citing transportation challenges in the wake of the strike by the transport operators.