No school un­til fur­ther no­tice

Com­pa­nies also is­sue ad­vi­sories

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer

THE ED­U­CA­TION min­istry has man­dated that all schools be closed to­day, as Ja­maica is ex­pected to ex­pe­ri­ence the ef­fects of Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Ruel Reid, in a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day, said the safety of all Ja­maicans, es­pe­cially chil­dren, was a pri­or­ity and that all schools must re­main closed un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Schools that will be used as shel­ters, Reid said, must put in place im­me­di­ate emer­gency plans.

“All schools that func­tion as dis­as­ter re­lief cen­tres should put in safe keep­ing all im­por­tant doc­u­ments and ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als. Those schools that serve as re­lief cen­tres are pre­pared to fa­cil­i­tate ar­range­ments for de­liv­ery of sup­plies on their premises. We en­cour­age school ad­min­is­tra­tors to stay tuned to the me­dia in or­der to re­ceive reg­u­lar up­dates from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Youth and In­for­ma­tion as the sit­u­a­tion un­folds over the next two days,” Reid said.

Ap­prox­i­mately 830 of the al­most 1,000 pub­lic schools will be utilised as shel­ters.

Yes­ter­day, the Min­istry of Jus­tice also ad­vised staff not to at­tempt to re­port for work.

In the mean­time, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany FLOW opened its emer­gency op­er­a­tions cen­tre (EOC) at 10 last night.

The com­pany said it would be con­tin­u­ing mit­i­ga­tion ac­tiv­i­ties across the is­land to en­sure that its cus­tomers stay con­nected through­out and af­ter the pas­sage of the storm, in a man­ner that will not put its em­ploy­ees at any un­nec­es­sary risk.

KEEP­ING CUS­TOMERS CON­NECTED

“Our lo­cal cri­sis-man­age­ment team will be man­ning the emer­gency op­er­a­tions cen­tre, which will re­main open un­til the [hur­ri­cane] warn­ing has been lifted and nor­mal busi­ness op­er­a­tions re­sume. We have pre­pared as best as pos­si­ble and are com­mit­ted to do­ing all we can to keep our cus­tomers con­nected dur­ing this time,” said Kayon Wallace, di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and stake­holder man­age­ment at Flow.

Cus­tomers can call these num­bers to re­port dis­rup­tions once the OEC opens: 929-9834, 929-9835, 929-9837, or toll-free 1-888-295-3621.

The Tourism Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions Cen­tre (TEOC) has been ac­ti­vated by the tourism min­istry to pro­vide emer­gency ser­vices for the lo­cal tourism sec­tor.

All part­ners of the tourism min­istry have been urged by Tourism Min­is­ter Ed­mund Bartlett to take the nec­es­sary steps to re­main safe dur­ing the hur­ri­cane.

“As our na­tion braces for the im­pact of Hur­ri­cane Matthew, ev­ery­one needs to heed the hur­ri­cane warn­ings which the rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties have is­sued, as this is a pow­er­ful sys­tem which should never be un­der­es­ti­mated,” Bartlett said.

Although Sang­ster In­ter­na­tional Air­port re­mains open dur­ing the hur­ri­cane, a num­ber of flights have been can­celled. Pas­sen­gers booked on can­celled flights are be­ing ad­vised to con­tact the re­spec­tive air­lines for re­book­ing op­tions. These are as fol­lows: Can­cel­la­tions: South­west – Can­celled all flights into and out of Mon­tego Bay for to­day. Spirit – Can­celled all flights into and out of Mon­tego Bay for to­day. Re­place­ments: South­west – Mon­tego Bay to Or­lando de­part­ing at 9 a.m. South­west – Mon­tego Bay to Bal­ti­more de­part­ing at 4 p.m. Spirit – Mon­tego Bay to Ft Laud­erdale de­part­ing at 2:08 p.m.

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