No directive given for letters of indemnity waiver, says Education minister

No directive given for letters of indemnity waiver, says Education minister

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has issued no directive nor endorsed any proposal for public schools to issue letters of indemnity waiver to parents, should their child contract COVID-19 while attending face-to-face classes.

Portfolio minister Fayval Williams made the announcement while was speaking in the House of Representatives at Gordon House, today.

Her remarks were in response to media reports indicating that some school administrators are asking parents to sign letters of indemnity waiver in the event their child or ward contracts the COVID-19 virus while attending face-to-face classes.

The minister urged parents to notify the ministry if they are in receipt of letters of indemnity waiver, in the event their child or ward contracts the COVID-19 virus while in face-to-face classes.

She noted too, that bulletins have been sent to all schools regarding the matter, adding that schools that have been engaging in the practice have been directed to cease and desist.

Williams said, however, that private schools are not necessarily guided by the directives from the ministry.

“Children must be educated, and it is our duty, through the leadership of our schools, to ensure all the safety measures are in place and are maintained without compromise,” she said.

She pointed out that schools are not approved for face-to-face instructions without them satisfying the COVID-19-compliant standards of the Ministry of Health and Wellness and evaluated as being low-risk, and noted, too, that risk-ranking database, guided by geoinformatics and demographic data are used to determine the process.

Williams said that schools are also monitored through announced and unannounced visits by Health Inspectors, Safety and Security Officers and Education Officers to guarantee full compliance and the ultimate safety of learners and staff in schools.

Meanwhile, the minister said that of the 216 schools that have started face- to-face classes, eight schools across Regions 1, 2, 5 and 7 have been affected by suspected or confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus.

She said that the necessary sanitisation and psychosocial activities have been or are being undertaken at institutions with confirmed cases.

She noted that there were no suspected or confirmed cases in Regions 3, 4 and 6.

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