Published On: Mon, Nov 9th, 2020

Not all schools abide by corona-measures

PHILIPSBURG – Not all schools are fully adhering to the protocols and safety guidelines from the government’s Education Continuity Plan, Minister of Education Drs. Rodolphe Samuel reports in a press release.

Inspectors found that in some schools floor markings had been removed, classrooms had been arranged differently from their approved layout, regular sanitation was not observed and staff members were not wearing the mandatory facemasks. Some schools still have to enhance the sanitation and temperature screening upon the arrival of staff and students.

Three weeks ago exam students and special education students returned to their classrooms. A week later vulnerable students followed. All schools involved, with the exception of FAVE schools, had “successfully finalized and implemented their safety plans,” according to the press release. Starting next Monday, all students are to return to their classrooms.

Collective Preventive Services (CPS) registered per November 3 one active COVID-case in a school since the reopening of the classrooms; eight students and three staff members were placed in quarantine.

By November 6 the ministry of education received reports about seven COVID-infections from four different school boards. Six of these were adults, one was a child.

Minister Samuel announced that inspectors of his ministry and the ministry of public health will intensify unscheduled inspections in the coming weeks.

Next Monday, November 16, all students are expected to return to their classrooms whereby schools are expected to adhere to the rules of approach 3 of the Education Continuity Plan. “It is important that schools adhere to the health protocols,” the press release states.

School boards are expected to ensure that everyone in the schools wears a mask and practices social distancing of two meters and regular hand washing.

In situations where social distancing is not possible, schools should teach some students in the classroom while others would have to make do with distance learning.

“The commitment of education professionals over the last few weeks to implement all safety measures within their schools is most commendable.  Through their efforts all schools have approved safety plans and most have begun their implementation. I commend schools for reporting (suspected) cases to their staff, parents, students and the Ministry, to ensure that cases of COVID-19 in the school environment do not remain unaccounted for, with the possibility to lead to clusters within our schools,” Minister Samuel stated in the press release.

Samuel urged schools “that have left their guard down” to “rejoin the majority of schools in ensuring that the health and safety of everyone is safeguarded.”

Under approach 3 of the Education Continuity Plan everybody in the schools must wear a facemask and practice social distancing and regular sanitation. Schools that cannot stick to these measures must put a plan in place for “blended and or staggered education delivery.”


Press release Minister of Education