NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (November 12, 2020) — Hon. Troy Liburd, Junior Minister of Education in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) says all schools on Nevis reopened in September into an era of COVID-19 and from all reports it has been a successful response.
The Junior Minister was at the time delivering a report on the status of the education system on Nevis at a sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly on November 05, 2020.
“Our schools were able to restart and from all of the reports that we would have gotten from each and every school, it has been mostly smooth. It has not been without its up and downs but we are thankful that we are able to keep our students in school physically when so many other territories are not able to do that.
“In our primary schools the students are back at school all day, that’s from 8:30 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoons… Our daycare centres and our preschools are back in operation and we are very thankful for that… In terms of our high schools, the public high schools on Nevis, both of them are in operation and are operating on a shift system,” he said.
Mr. Liburd noted that the Ministry of Education and the Nevis Island Administration had made major changes at schools in keeping with the COVD-19 protocols.
“We have had to put a lot of protocols in place – the wearing of masks, the sanitization of students, the hand sanitizer when they come in the morning, and we have had to procure some new furniture to accommodate the social distancing rules that we have had to implement in our schools…The government had to open a second segment of the Charlestown Preschool because we had a large number of students to accommodate…
“We have implemented a shift system. Some students come in the morning and some in the afternoon but it does not mean, that the students are not getting that learning and teaching experience while they are not in school doing online classes. We have had to do that for the social distancing because of the space in the schools,” he said.
The Junior Minister indicated that as far as the shift system at the government-owned secondary schools is concerned, the NIA employed full-time sanitising workers to increase the level of health safety.
“We have had to implement a strict sanitising protocol where the classes are cleaned before the next shift starts. So when the morning shift moves out, we clean the classrooms before the afternoon shift comes in.
“That means that the government has had to employ full-time cleaners at all of the government schools,” he said.
Sanitization of the school buses has also been upgraded, and bus attendants have been hired.
“For the students who travel on the school bus, we have had to employ bus attendants to be on each bus…they sanitise the buses before students come on and they sanitise them after students leave to accommodate the next shift,” he said.
Mr. Liburd used the opportunity to announce that the NIA had taken steps to address the restrictions created by social distancing as directed by the COVID-19 protocols, with regards to the school buses and the number of students who could travel on the buses at any given time.
“Through a partnership with a private entity, we have also procured four additional school buses, two of which should be on island before the end of the year.
“So hopefully when the new school term starts in January, we will have the services of two additional school buses and then sometime in the not-too-distant future from then, we are going to have the services of an additional two school buses,” he said.