A clean start is close at hand with new handwashing stations at 10 recently reopened Jamaican primary schools
A fresh – and clean – restart
When Jamaican children from 375 elementary schools showed up for classes on November 8, 2021, it was no ordinary day. It marked the first time those students had attended face-to-face classes in 20 months – since March 2020, when the first COVID-19 case was reported on the island.
To help ensure the children in the communities of Clarendon and St. Catherine could maintain safe hygiene, we donated hand sanitizers, masks, and 20 handwashing stations – two each at 10 primary and infant schools in these parishes where we also operate two liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant facilities.
For many of the children who returned to school, it was the first time they’d participated in education at all in a long time, as the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MoYE) has found that illness, internet connectivity issues, and lack of motivation had kept more than 100,000 students from attending school consistently – or at all – during the pandemic. As a result, earlier this year, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Ministry of Education began prioritizing reopening schools. Among their criteria were the ability to engage students in a socially distanced environment and provide reliable access to water for drinking and sanitation.
We’re pleased to have been able to help fund the project and team up with Food for the Poor Jamaica to facilitate construction of the handwashing stations.
Jason Bryan, Principal at Davis Primary School, called the donation “further testament that NFE cares wholeheartedly about the future of our nation because they continue to invest so much into our students,” and noted it would “not only help to protect the students and staff body here at the school, but by extension, our families that we go home to every day.”
Helping empower the next generation with positive energy is one of the most fulfilling things we do. In Jamaica, we have provided back-to-school supplies, financial aid, and, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 500 tablets and laptops, online math tutoring resources, and care packages to help ensure these students have every opportunity to enjoy a bright future.