Addressing an online symposium entitled “Psychosocial Support: A Vital Necessity During Covid-19” at the Sam Sharpe Teacher’s College in Montego Bay on Tuesday, Dr Rattray advised elderly persons in particular, to get flu shots now, as contracting Covid-19 along with the flu could pose a serious health risk.
Regarding the wearing of masks, Dr Rattray said this was the most effective means of preventing contracting the virus.
“If everybody wears a mask, you would not going to have any lockdown, ever,” he said, reiterating that, “If everybody wears a mask it would be much better by now; that’s why I get so upset with people who refuse to wear masks,” Dr. Rattray said.
He described masks as being better at what he described as “source control” and stressed the importance of people adhering to the protocol. “People have to adhere but they’re just not doing it. People saying now it is some trick, psyche or some rubbish; people are still saying this to you and I get so upset because they are the ones that making us sick,” noted Dr Rattray.
In addition to wearing a mask, Dr Rattray underscored the value of being out in the open while maintaining physical distancing. This he said was important especially for children attending school. He argued that feeling of suffocation from wearing a mask was purely psychological and all children over the age of two years must be fitted with a mask.
Acting Head of the Department of Guidance and Counselling, Ms. Onnica Morris who moderated the virtual symposium, said with the changes brought about by the pandemic, “We have come to realize that while we are free people, our freedom comes with greater responsibility both to self and others.
“This pandemic has caused social losses that are significant enough to alter our thoughts and behaviours,” but, she stated, there was recognition of the need to remain conscious and focused on adapting and continuity, notwithstanding how challenging it may be.
“Our task at this time is to ensure the maintenance overall health, be mindful in consideration of the impact this pandemic has on the psychosocial health of self, family, students or any other group of individual we impact in one way or another.”
Principal of Sam Sharpe Teachers College, Dr Lorna Gow-Morrison disclosed that the college’s peer counsellors had launched an online mentorship network under the supervision of Guidance Counsellor, Mrs. Rosette James Smith and was actively seeking to improve its pool of student mentors.
She also disclosed that on Thursday, December 3, 2020, during Disabilities Awareness Week, the Special education Department will host a webinar on the theme, “Supporting Invisible Disabilities in the Twenty-first Century”.
Noting that “now is the time for outreach,” Mrs. Gow-Morrison said everyone was experiencing newness, unlearning, relearning, unexpectedness and the need for support.
She said in spite of the Covid pandemic, the college continued to manifest being the premier teacher training institution in western Jamaica “and an institution of choice committed to service, commitment and excellence.”
She lauded the Guidance and Counselling Department for taking the initiative to host the symposium which drew participants from several other schools across the country.
Dr Gow-Morrison highlighted the college’s role in exploring increased student employment, upgrading of its IT network and provision of technological resources to students.
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