Two schools located in St Catherine and Westmoreland are the most recent educational institutions to benefit from infrastructural work, through the X-Marks the Spot initiative, a School Crosswalk Road Safety Campaign, being implemented by the JN Foundation, in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the ABERTIS Foundation.
Onyka Barrett Scott, general manager of the JN Foundation, said that the upcoming work will include the erection of signage for bus lay-bys, pedestrian gates, and the widening and paving of sidewalks and painting of the crosswalks at Bridgeport High School in St Catherine; and Llandilo School of Special Education in Westmoreland.
“We are excited about these two projects, which will make it safer for students when they traverse the areas,” she said, explaining that the work should be completed by December.
“When these children return to school for face-to-face classes, they will be returning to a safer environment,” she said.
On completion of the project, the schools will join the list of 29 schools which have benefitted from improvement to their pedestrian crossings, signage or general road safety related improvements in 2020.
Ferncourt High School in Claremont, St Ann is one of the schools that benefitted from the campaign. Marissa Johnson-Howell, Dean of Discipline at the school, said the upgrading of the cross walk was welcomed, as its now safer for students.
“Road safety is of paramount importance to the care and protection of our students and members of staff. We are very appreciative of the JN Foundation’s initiative to paint a pedestrian crossing at the point of entry for students to access the main campus and look forward to their continued support in providing a safe and secure environment for our stakeholders,” she pointed out.
Mrs Barrett Scott stated that the aim of the School Crosswalk Campaign is to encourage advocacy and discussions about road safety in schools and households
Hazard Primary School in Clarendon was the first school to be upgraded under the campaign. The educational institution benefitted from the erection of: signage for bus lay-bys, pedestrian gates, the widening and paving of the sidewalks.
The campaign was informed by a Child Road Safety Assessment Report commissioned by the JN Foundation, which provided the baseline data to improve the safety of children on roads, particularly near, or on their way to school.
The research identified specific schools and zones where children were most vulnerable to incidences of road traffic crashes, injuries, and fatalities. These areas required specific infrastructural and/or safety interventions, both at the physical and social levels.
Since the start of 2020, 22 children have lost their lives on the roadways. Additionally, an innumerable number of children continue to suffer from life-altering injuries, which are a direct result of traffic crashes, within 100 metres of school zones, during the past decade.