Plans in place for COVID-positive students sitting external exams, Education Minister says
The Ministry of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams.

KINGSTON, Jamaica— Education Minister Fayval Williams has indicated that preparations are in place for students who will be sitting external examinations amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in schools.

Williams was speaking at the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights meeting, held at Cru Bar, Thursday evening, when she explained some of the measures that will be taken if students test positive for the virus and still want to take their examinations.

“We are also in the exam period -- CSEC, CAPE, City and Guilds, NCTVET, all the exams -- and we are prepared for those students who report to us that they have COVID but they still want to do the exam. We have a whole list of protocols that we have to follow from the Ministry of Health and Wellness so these students will have to be in a separate classroom from the other students, [and] the invigilators, for example, will have to wear N-95 masks and they might have to have on PPEs and so on,” the Minister said.

She also said that with the fifth wave of COVID now happening in Jamaica schools will remain open as she reiterated the importance of vaccination.

“We will not be locking down schools again, we are going to manage. The Minister of Health and Wellness said that we have to learn to manage to live with COVID [so] we are still encouraging vaccination among our high school students, among our teachers and administrators. There are plenty of vaccinations around and the sites are still available to help us get through this period of time,” Williams added.

To combat the learning loss that some students have had to endure over the last two years of the pandemic, the education minister said that she is encouraging students to enroll in summer schools as many had done last year.

“We are going to be encouraging summer school again, we had it last summer because our children have lost a lot. While there were some students who were very diligent and they had access to devices and all of that and they did the work, there is still a whole bunch for whatever reason, they didn’t have a device as yet and even if they had a device their connectivity was patchy or they didn’t have any at all,” she said.

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