All public schools that are designated emergency shelters have been given permission to close at 12:30pm Friday.
The Ministry of Education and Youth has advised that the decision was taken because of the severe weather alert that is in effect for Jamaica.
It said it has mobilised the emergency response teams at all public educational institutions on the advice of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and that the decision to close some schools early will allow for full preparation in the event they will be used to house evacuees.
The ministry, in a statement, said the development follows the Meteorological Service of Jamaica issuing a “severe weather alert” bulletin for Jamaica in which it indicated that a tropical depression is advancing over the southeastern Caribbean.
Education Minister Fayval Williams, and the ministry’s senior executives held a virtual meeting with school administrators on Thursday, in preparation for the advancing weather system.
The ministry said the meeting was attended by more than 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.
“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.
She 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