Councillor wants schools reopened

October 27, 2020
Councillor for the Montego Bay South Division, Richard Vernon.
Councillor for the Montego Bay South Division, Richard Vernon.

Deputy Mayor of Montego Bay, Richard Vernon, is imploring the Government to consider a phased resumption of face-to-face classes for schools in the city by next January.

Students have been sent home from school plants since March after Jamaica recorded the first two cases of COVID-19. Since then teachers have relied mainly on online platforms to provide lessons. Learning kits are being distributed throughout communities, and some classes are being broadcast on television.

Yesterday, Vernon said that Jamaica cannot continue to keep children at home to protect them from possibly contracting COVID-19.

Irresponsible things

"It is still going to spread whether school is in session or not, because the same parents who are out there doing all the irresponsible things, not wearing the mask, not social distancing, no sanitising, they are the same parents who are going to take it home to their children," he said.

Jamaica, as of Sunday, had recorded 8,749 cases of the dangerous virus, which can cause serious respiritory illness and even death. Some 192 persons have died from COVID-19, including one educator. Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton last week revealed that there were some discussions around the possibility of schools reopening.

Meanwhile, Vernon, councillor for gritty inner-city areas such as Barracks Road, Canterbury and Railway Lane, in his Montego Bay South Division, said parents in these communities are facing economic hardship and cannot afford to pay for virtual learning.

"Many can barely afford the required megabytes to access the virtual platform, not to mention the lack of access to tablets or the requisite devices to follow the virtual classrooms. A significant number of the residents are employed to the tourism industry and have been unemployed since March," he said.

- R.L.

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