SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - In preparation of the beginning of the new academic year 2020/2021, Deputy Government Commissioner, Alida Francis, met with all teachers and educational partners last Friday, August 14th, to wish them a successful new school year and to receive an update from them on their COVID-19 readiness.
The analysis found that all schools have taken strict hygiene measures and were ready to open today, Monday, August 17th, 2020. Day care centers and Out-of-School programs also resumed operations. One primary school will reopen a week later due to ongoing construction work that will complete later this week.
The final months of the previous academic year came with challenges for the educational system, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Deputy Government Commissioner thanked all teachers, school directors and educational partners for their patience and flexibility. “Despite the challenges we faced and still face on a daily basis, we were and are able to cope by putting a number of important plans and actions in place,” she said.
“We feel relieved that we can announce that this new academic year begins without any positive COVID-19 cases on Statia. We, as the Public Entity of St. Eustatius, are working hard to keep it this way,” she said. “To be able to continue on this trend, it is very important that the entire Statian community including the educational partners play their role”.
St. Eustatius is a relatively small island with limited medical facilities and currently no testing capacity. Therefore, the Government urges everyone to practice proper hygiene and physical distancing guidelines. Ms. Francis mentioned that the government is aware that social distancing is not always possible in vocational education and during practical training, but requests that students and teaching staff comply as much as possible.
The group will meet again during the first week of September to discuss among other things the assessment of the COVID 19 contingency plan of each educational institution with the ambition to come up with a common contingency plan for all schools on St. Eustatius.
Representatives of RCN Unit of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) were also in attendance and have agreed to provide the Public Entity and schools with support (information) that could be useful in formalizing a common contingency plan to be used in response to COVID 19. (Statia GIS)