A tentative date of May 4 has been set for the reopening of schools in St. Eustatius. A final decision on this matter is expected to be made today, Wednesday, April 29, during a meeting with teachers and stakeholders in education. Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis said Tuesday that the schools in Statia are currently in their fourth week of closure. Schools on the island have been closed since Monday, March 30. The island’s fourth emergency ordinance is in effect until Friday, May 1.
Francis said she has been in contact with several schools, and said the public entity St. Eustatius has been listening to the dilemmas schools are facing where it pertains to students in the exam and pre-exam classes and those with special education needs.
She said the schools had made it known that not all students are actively participating in the contingency plan that was put in place by the individual schools for distance learning. The degree of participation varies per school and there are schools that have said they are having good success rates with distance learning, she said.
The local government has invited principals and school-board chairpersons for a meeting to reach a decision concerning school openings.
“The public of Statia is well aware it took a bit longer to close our schools. This was because we felt it was necessary to have dialogue. It was necessary to have education care packages in place for students at home, it was important to ensure that there was the necessary support in a number of areas such as homework, school guidance, and distance learning, but also for those in special social affairs programmes such as the breakfast programme,” Francis said.
The public entity plans to meet with all four primary schools, Gwendoline van Putten Secondary School, the Compulsory Education Office and with the organisers of after-school programmes.
Francis said Statia has managed to contain the situation related to coronavirus COVID-19, due to the policies put in place. However, a number of non-essential businesses were closed and essential businesses were given strict guidelines on how to go about their business.
Before the expiration of the May 1 deadline of the fourth emergency ordinance, the crisis team and the public entity prepared several scenarios in case measures are to be scaled up or down or in case the current situation will remain.
The public entity will also engage in talks with business organisations, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the St. Eustatius Business Association STEBA. Francis said the public entity has invited the Carnival Committee to discuss Carnival 2020, which is scheduled for July 20-26. Carnival is a collaboration between the Musical Foundation and the St. Eustatius Lions Club. Francis said the public entity will gather around the table with the organisers to discuss Carnival 2020. A decision will be communicated following that meeting.
Saba has cancelled its 2020 Carnival celebrations.
Francis said Golden Rock Pharmacy is offering assistance to residents and visitors who are accustomed to ordering their medication and who are currently facing a shortage of medication because of the corona crisis. Persons can contact the pharmacy at tel. 318-3301 and the pharmacy’s administration at tel. 318-3305.
The Daily Herald.