Brown appeals to eastern Hanover school staff to access vaccinesFriday, September 24, 2021
HANOVER, Jamaica— Eastern Hanover Member of Parliament, Dave Brown, has highlighted that vaccination rates among academic staff in public schools in his constituency range from a high of 60 per cent to a low of eight per cent.
Brown made the revelation Tuesday during his contribution to the 2021/22 State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representatives. He said the information was gleaned from conversations with principals. He used his presentation to appeal to school personnel to “access this additional layer of protection (against COVID-19) and get vaccinated”.
Brown told the House that his constituency, with 13 primary and four high schools, was among the worst affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. He said his conversations with principals showed the top three issues being experienced to be:
-No devices or siblings sharing parents' devices
- No internet or unreliability of internet across the campus
-No data or packages purchased are unable to fully access online classes.
The Member of Parliament said areas of the constituency such as Mount Peto, Miles Town and Bessibaker were the most severely affected. He said he was happy for the updates on the education sector from the Minister of Education and was looking forward to the initiatives that will target students who reside in the most rural areas.
“We must work to stem the unfairness of not just the digital divide but the social divide in education,” said Brown. He noted that while he has used money from his Constituency Development Fund to provide devices for the most vulnerable students in his constituency and some were distributed by the Minister of Education, more were needed.
Brown added that the telecommunications companies must also be held to their commitment to improve service.
“I am concerned that the learning loss that is being seen so very early in the new school year will only increase, creating an unstoppable gap in education,” he stated.
Returning to the issue of vaccines, Brown said it is now widely accepted that the best modality for many of our students is a return to face-to-face instruction.
“This can only happen with purposeful and intentional actions. One such action is to have students and all categories of staff in schools vaccinated,” he said.
The MP said that while his constituents have shown increased openness to being vaccinated, the hesitancy, in many instances, is driven by a lack of information that they can make sense of.
“For example, I know that many people thought that if they were not going to parties, they would not be susceptible to the virus. This might have been their misinterpretation of previous messages around COVID-19. Now that the messages relate to the deadliness of the virus, people are getting a better understanding and are ready to be vaccinated,” said Brown.