The Ministry of Education and Youth has given permission for public schools that are designated shelters to close at 12:30 pm today.
The development follows the severe weather alert that is in effect for Jamaica.
As a result, the Ministry has mobilised the emergency response teams at all public educational institutions on the advice of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. It said schools that are designated emergency shelters have been granted permission to close at 12:30 pm today to allow for full preparation in the event they will be used to house evacuees.
“This follows the Meteorological Office of Jamaica issuing a ‘severe weather alert’ bulletin for Jamaica in which it indicated that a tropical wave is advancing over the southeastern Caribbean with a potential to develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next day or two,” the Ministry said in a statement Friday morning.
It said the Minister of Education, Fayval Williams, and the Ministry’s senior executives, on Thursday held a virtual meeting with school administrators within the education system in preparation for the advancing weather system.
“The meeting was attended by over 800 school administrators who shared their safety plans for tropical weather-related emergencies. They were updated by the Ministry’s team on the steps to be taken in the event that their schools are used as evacuation storm shelters,” said the ministry.
“I am pleased to note from reports that I have received, that all safety and security protocols are in place for the impending tropical wave. Our public schools are at the forefront of providing shelter. As planned, evacuations are part of the many aspects of emergency preparation efforts for which our schools have to be prepared,” Minister Williams said in her address to the school administrators.
The Minister also commended the principals and teachers for their responsiveness, resilience and support during this challenging period.
The list of school shelters islandwide can be viewed on the Ministry's website at www.moey.gov.jm