Right Steps & Poui Trees

Cases Reported of a Possible Exposure to Covid-19 in Schools?

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During his statement in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 16, 2021), while announcing changes to the Covid-19 measures, PM Andrew Holness briefly mentioned cases of children with possible exposure to Covid-19 and how this was dealt with by schools.

Speaking about the country as a whole, he said:

“We are being very cautious in reopening and, just to be clear, we are not going to shut down again.”

He then went on to say:

“So, Madam Speaker, we have reopened our schools. We have seen cases reported of a possible exposure to Covid-19. We haven’t shut them when they have opened. We tell them to sanitise, clean up, isolate the child, keep them at home. But we are not going to close the schools again.”

These cases referred to by the Prime Minister – of possible Covid exposure in children in schools – haven’t been reported in the media nor to general public by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) or by the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW). In his statement, PM Holness gave no other information about these cases…what schools or parishes they occurred in, when they occurred or how many children or schools were affected, for example.

Other questions needing answers include:

  • Has information about these cases been reported to the parents, guardians or families in the schools where these cases occurred?
  • Were the children who were possibly exposed to Covid-19 tested to see if they actually had Covid-19?
  • Were the other children and teachers in their class or in the school also tested?
  • Was any contact tracing done?

And a more general question needs to be asked about what exactly the protocol is when schools have a child in attendance who was possibly exposed to Covid-19, beyond what PM Holness mentioned…”We tell them to sanitize, clean up, isolate the child, keep them at home.”

There is very little specific information in the MOEYI’s Manual for the Reopening of Educational Institutions – Version 3, August 2021 on how suspected/confirmed cases of Covid-19 in students or staff are to be dealt with. And there is no mention of testing. Perhaps it is set out in detail elsewhere. It would be good to know.

PBCJ recording of the sitting of the House of Representatives on November 16, 2021


Author: rightpouitree

Navigating the real and virtual worlds and sometimes writing about what I observe...

One thought on “Cases Reported of a Possible Exposure to Covid-19 in Schools?

  1. Reblogged this on Petchary's Blog and commented:
    The situation in Jamaica regarding COVID-19 is rather “up in the air.” While the number of new cases has been declining, testing is at an all-time low, and we are still having deaths on a daily basis (some from months ago that are just being recorded) and our positivity rate remains fairly high. We are also, according to the Prime Minister and our Health and Wellness Minister, EXPECTING a Fourth Wave (estimated to arrive at the end of December/early January, if not before). Meanwhile, we are having a gradual easing of curfew restrictions (currently from 9 pm to 5 am daily). From all accounts, curfews are largely being neither obeyed nor enforced in many cases. Meanwhile, the Government insists that schools will remain open. There will be no more lockdowns, shutdowns! Back to the “new normal”! With some 25 percent of the target population fully vaccinated, how much sense does this make? Well, it’s now “up to us” it seems. If you are not vaccinated, expect the worse. The vaccine is here, get vaxxed! Unfortunately, also, the weekly “COVID Conversations” – very useful updates and an opportunity for the media to pose questions of the Minister and his team – seem to have fallen by the wayside. I believe they are needed, perhaps more than ever. Many questions remain – including those asked by Susan Goffe in her latest blog on schoolchildren and COVID-19.