Training of Safety & Emergency Teams of schools commences
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Training of Safety & Emergency Teams of schools commences

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Training of Safety & Emergency Teams (SETs) of elementary and secondary schools on St. Maarten starts on June 17, 2021 under the auspices of the Student Support Services Division and supported by UNICEF Netherlands.

In 2018, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (MECYS) developed the “Safety and Emergency Response Guidelines for Schools” with the support of UNICEF Netherlands. This document provides guidance for disaster safety planning in schools, emphasizing the work to be carried out by School Safety Teams (SETs). It also outlines the do’s and don’ts before and during emergencies, suggesting possible steps for various hazards. SETs went on to draft their school safety & emergency plans under the guidance of the Student Support Services Division and with the support of UNICEF Netherlands.

The 1-day “Safe School Virtual Training” is aimed to support School Safety Teams in the implementation of the guidelines, providing basic disaster risk management knowledge as well as guidance on carrying out risk assessment and develop or update school safety & emergency plans.

At the end of the training, participants will be able to recognize the importance of school safety; differentiate the concepts of hazards, vulnerability, risk and resources as they relate to disaster risk management; apply tools to assess school safety of a given facility; and develop or update a School Safety & Emergency Plan.

This series of 1-day training sessions will be take place during the month of June and two days in August, to allow for the participation of the 24 SETs. School Teams were requested to select the date of their choice and register online for the training. The SSSD is quite pleased that 21 teams have registered.

The Head of SSSD and school safety focal point, Mrs. Olga Mussington-Service, stated that is so important that the SETs be given the tools they need and this training is another step in that direction. “We have a group of dedicated school staff & teachers who are committed to school safety and continue to go beyond the call of duty. I am so pleased that with the support of UNICEF Netherlands, we have been able to realize another aspect of our plan to elevate school safety on St. Maarten.”

Mussington-Service, who is also the acting chair of the Safety & Emergency Management Committee of MECYS, added that the SEMC continues to roll-out its plan together with MECYS stakeholders and with the support of entities such as UNICEF Netherlands. For the SEMC of MECYS it is not solely about Hurricanes but we are preparing our sectors for all possible hazards.

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