The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MoEYI) wishes to remind our stakeholders that students sitting exit examinations (CXC, NCTVET and City & Guilds) will return to school during the period of June 8, 2020 to July 3, 2020.  This period should be used to prepare students for the successful sitting of these examinations.   School administrators are being assured that the decision taken by the Government to reopen school was done in consultation with key stakeholders and with the endorsement of the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW).  The MoHW has also been instrumental in providing the appropriate support in the preparation of the guidelines for the reopening of schools and public facilities.  Their medical officers will be conducting virtual sensitization and training sessions for Board Chairmen, Principals, Guidance Counsellors, Deans of Discipline, School Nurses, Health and Family Life Educators, and Bursars from May 29, 2020 to June 2, 2020.  Additionally, the MoHW parish teams/officers are available to school administrators, upon request, to provide training and inspection support at the school level.  The MoHW will also deploy their medical officers to conduct announced and unannounced monitoring visits at schools consistent with the Disaster Risk Management Act Orders and Instructions.          In keeping with the commitment to support our school administrators as they prepare for the reopening of schools, please see attached the Education in Emergencies: A Manual for the Reopening of Educational Institutions.  This outlines the appropriate guidelines to ensure the safety of all stakeholders within the school environment. The following are also included in the document:  COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) Guidance for Schools  Self-Assessment Checklist for Schools - COVID-19   Public Health Inspection Checklist for Workplaces and Public Facilities/Spaces – COVID-19  Environmental Health Interim Guidelines and Procedures for the Reopening of Public Facilities/Spaces for COVID-19

Standard Operating Procedures for COVID-19 Cleaning  Best Practice Tips for Conducting Temperature Checks  The Ministry will also provide personal protective equipment for all schools to include: Masks, Gloves, Hand-held Temperature Check Devices, Hand Washing Stations where needed, Alcohol, Sanitizers and Soap.  These are to be collected from the respective Regional Offices between June 1 - 3, 2020.  Principals are to make contact with their Regional Director to agree on a specific time and date for the collection of the items.    It must be noted that the Ministry is advanced in preparing the disbursements of the first tranche of the Regular/Operational Grants, due in the month of June 2020.  This will represent 20% of the payment for the new school year.   The Ministry will also be launching a School Reopening Campaign using traditional and social media.  The campaign will be targeting students, parents, teachers, school boards and school administrators and will commence in the week of June 1, 2020.    School administrators are being reminded of the following precautionary measures that should be observed prior to the reopening of school: 1. Rearranging the seating in all classrooms in keeping with the social/physical distancing guidelines, which require students being 6 feet apart. 2. Modifying the timetable to ensure that teachers are appropriately deployed to attend to the students.  Psychosocial sessions must be timetabled for all students and teachers to help them to cope with the changes imposed on them as a result of the pandemic.  Special consideration should be given to staff and students with co-morbidities or underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to severe symptoms of the virus. 3. Developing plans for the use and distribution of basic equipment and materials needed for sanitization purposes such as temperature check device, hand washing solutions/stations, masks, alcohol, sanitizers, and other personal protective equipment (PPE).   4. Deploying staff to clean and disinfect/sanitize school buildings, classrooms and other facilities prior to the resumption of school and according to a daily routine while school is in operation.  Please see the attached guidelines to help in the execution of these tasks.  The Ministry will procure the services of professional cleaners to deep clean schools upon request. 5. Coordinating the training of staff and students on implementing social/physical distancing and other precautionary/hygiene practices to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.   6. Developing a monitoring mechanism to ensure that precautionary measures are never compromised. 

7. Coordinating with parents and local transport providers to ensure the safe movement of students to and from school.  Where there is need for transportation support for students/families who are experiencing severe financial challenges, this should be communicated to the regional office immediately. 8. Coordinating a modified arrangement for the provision of meals at the class level to avoid large gatherings in canteens or lunch rooms.  As you are aware, the nutritional support for the students on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) should be taken into consideration as you plan the arrangements for the provision of meals during the school day.  Therefore, permission is granted for the PATH Grant to be used to provide meals for the PATH beneficiaries during the period of resumption.     9. Preparing a space and appropriate protocols to isolate and treat students and staff who may become ill or show symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.

The Ministry understands the anxiety concerning the reopening of schools.  We encourage school administrators to mobilize the support of all stakeholders: parents, members of community, Past Students Associations, Faith-Based Organizations, among other key partners to ensure the success of the reopening process.  Together we achieve more.  

For further information, stakeholders are asked to make contact with their Regional Office.