By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
DIRECTOR of Education Marcellus Taylor said the Ministry of Education has a protocol in place to allow some staff to work remotely where possible in view of COVID-19 concerns, but stressed this is not feasible for every position.
At a press conference at the Ministry of Education’s headquarters, a concern was brought up about security officers allegedly not being sent home after a potential exposure while teachers and administrators were able to do so.
For cases of COVID-19, Mr Taylor said the ministry has established a protocol that has been agreed by the health professionals as well as persons from the Department of Environmental Health Services. The protocol would be followed based on whether it’s a suspected case or a positive case.
“Even when there are positive cases, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire school has to be shut down,” he said. “So it all depends on the movement of the person, how long they were in the environment, and so forth. So we are guided by the advice that they provide. If they tell us that seven of the classrooms need to be cleaned and sanitised then we do that. If we have to send people home for a particular period of time then we do that but once that period is over then we ask people to return to work.
“We have also made provisions for some people to work remotely who can work remotely and so in some instances teachers are permitted to work remotely provided they are able to meet certain conditions and so on to do that. Other workers are unable to work remotely and it’d be very difficult for a security officer or janitor staff to actually do their work remotely.
“Now there may be times where we might say... we don’t need everyone coming and so then we may put them on a rotation so instead of coming five days a week they may come two days a week but we have to secure the schools and that work can only be done with a security officer being on staff.”
He added the health and safety of security officers will be assured. Mr Taylor explained they will be given personal protective gear and sanitisers, asked to follow protocols in terms of social distancing and their work spaces are maintained in a sanitary manner.
“So, we don’t feel there’s a particular challenge with that,” he said