The Minister of Education drs. Rodolphe Samuel issued a public statement with words of advice and encouragement for parents and children who will be going back to school on Monday, May 25th, 2020. The minister encourages the parents to make sure their children have all the necessary protective gear at hand so that the children will be able to abide by all safety and health protocols.
In his statement, Minister Samuel asks for the cooperation of the parents and the students as they "will be part of something new." The minister explained, that many of the students who are in their final academic year will be going to school to sit exams while the students of the other classes will remain at home and continue with their education online. "The school can make use of the extra empty classrooms to accommodate the exam students." the minister said.
"In this way," the minister explains, "teachers can apply social distancing and keep the students safe while they do their test. The task of all of us on Sint Maarten, is to be attentive during these weeks, as we go about daily business."
According to Minister Samuel, school buses will be on the road again. "The traffic in the area of our secondary schools will be heavier than usual, as parents will also be taking their children to school and picking them up," the minister explained. "Buses might take a little longer to load and offload students. With fewer children per bus, you might have more buses on the road. It is important that bus operators, parents, and students apply the health protocol laid down by our professionals. New rules will be in place for the buses."
"Keeping everyone safe, is the most important task for us all." Minister Samuel said. "Everyone is expected to contribute to keeping Sint Maarten healthy. We have to think about ourselves and also on others too. If the students making use of the bus follow the rules, then the bus operators will have less work to do."
"If your child is taking the bus." the minister advises, "make sure you have the telephone number of the bus operator, the bus number, the route of the bus, and the time the bus will pass in your area."
The minister encourages parents to provide their child or children with a bottle of water and a little bottle of hand sanitizer before going to school. "This is to ensure that they all have their own, which will also save time," Samuel said." They should always have it at hand and not wait until they are asked and then have to start looking for it."
The Minister of Education encourages everyone to be cooperative. "Let us help each other to stay safe. Each student should have a little pack of tissue, don’t always wait until the school has it available. When your child return home, remember to apply the same precautions, let the child change its clothes, and take a bath before going through the house," the minister advises.
"As a student it is important to be vigilant at all times and pay attention to what is happening around you. It is important to keep your distance when you are with your friends. Think of yourself and your family at home. Think in advance about your self-protective equipment. Make sure to have a facemask when going to school, and a shield if possible. You are allowed to wear your protective gear in school. Always encourage your friends to wear protective gear as well. When at home, make sure to put your protective equipment where you where you will easily locate it," the minister said. "When receiving personal protective equipment for the first time, make sure to try them on, take a picture in it and see what it looks like. Get used to it at home so that you would be comfortable wearing it."
The Minister of Education urges the parents to be on time, when bringing their children to school and picking them up. Don’t give them the opportunity to hang around for a long time waiting for you. Take a picture of your child’s schedule and keep it in your phone.
Minister Samuel concluded his statement with the following message: "I want to take this opportunity to wish the students much success with their exams. To the parents, teachers, and bus drivers, I also wish them much strength, courage and I urge them to be safe at all times."