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Education Minister: Yellow-level alerts not enough reason to close schools

1 month ago 12


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Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly has said yellow-level adverse weather alerts are common in the rainy season, so they do not “constitute sufficient cause to close schools nationwide.”

She was responding to a question from Newsday about the backlash her ministry is facing for announcing the closure of schools late on Thursday morning.

The country has been under a yellow-level adverse weather alert since 12am on Wednesday, which is set to end on Friday at 12pm.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Met Office issued an orange-level riverine alert warning of a severe risk to public safety, livelihood and property.

As scores of children were either en route to or at their respective schools on Thursday, just after 7am, Gadsby-Dolly posted to her Facebook page and WhatsApp status announcing that all schools would be closed for the day.

This led to a lot of criticism from the public.

In a press release after her post, the ministry said schools – except those at which post-flood clean-up efforts are under way – will reopen on Friday.

Asked what was the decision-making process behind announcing the closure of schools so late, she told Newsday her ministry “can only be guided by the advice of the Met Service.

“School closure is a serious matter and an option of last resort.”

She said principals of schools in flood-prone areas can ask for their schools to be dismissed. Some principals did so on Wednesday.

“Having received word of the change in riverine flooding alert at 6.55am today (sic), based on the level of rainfall during the night, the decision to close schools was taken thereafter.”

She said the ministry continues to monitor the weather and riverine conditions.

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