Students in rural Jamaica at low risk for COVID-19 but high risk for road fatality – They may be at low risk of contracting the Coronavirus, but they are at a high risk of being a road fatality. Children in rural Jamaica make up the majority of the statistics for road fatalities and with the reopening of some schools, CVM Live ventured out into St. Ann to investigate the safety and security of children going to schools.
In Chalky Hill, St. Ann, where residents say the area is a truck route, children from the Chalky Hill Primary and Junior High school trod this road daily to and from school. There are no sidewalks, no sleeping police, no school zone signs.
The pedestrian crossing was barely visible. Principal Christeen Bedal Mcbean says it is dangerous for children.
Meanwhile, at the Steer Town Primary and Junior High School, Principal Michelle White Guy explains that the school does not have a pedestrian crossing.
However they do have an employee to cross children, but since the reopening of school he hasn’t been called back in to work.
Both schools are among a batch of 17 selected by the Ministry of Education for face-to face learning. But while the risk of getting COVID-19 is low, the children are at a high risk of being a road fatality.
Of the 381 people who have died from road crashes as of November 23, 25 are children. And the majority of the accidents happen in rural Jamaica.
It may be argued that the outbreak has slowed down the rate of crashes involving children as a lot of accidents happen while on route to school
But education specialist at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Dr. Rebecca Tortello says children’s road safety has now become another public health issue that needs to be addressed before the full resumption of schools.