Hon. Shawn Richards Statement on MoE COVID-19 Response and Preparation for likely School Closure – March 20, 2020

Fellow citizens and residents, good day.

As the Minister of Education, I address you today to provide a brief update on Education’s preparation for students’ continued learning should there be a confirmed case of COVID – 19 and a subsequent decision is made to close schools.

At the Ministry of Education, we are committed to ensuring the wellbeing and health of all students, teachers, employees, and related stakeholders. We continue to diligently monitor the presence of COVID–19 within the region and have begun to put contingencies in place for our students’ education in our beloved Federation.

To date, the Ministry of Health assures that there are no confirmed cases of COVID – 19 in St. Kitts and Nevis. Over the past weeks, the Ministry of Education has been strengthening our response to the likely announcement of a confirmed case of COVID – 19 and the possible decision to temporarily close our schools.

Thus far, the Ministry of Education’s School Safety Taskforce has put the following measures in place:

1. A comprehensive programme of education on COVID–19 in schools, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the St. Kitts and Nevis Dental and Medical Association. This means that our teachers and
students have already been enlightened by medicalprofessionals on how each of us can keep ourselves andour loved ones healthy in the face of the likelihood of the corona virus (COVID – 19)

2. The sensitisation of support staff, particularly cleaners, on school maintenance and enhanced cleaning

3. Meetings with corporate partners who are offering their support for alternative education platforms, and who are also willing to enhance communication between the Ministry and the public.Currently, we are poised to implement a programme of continued education should the Chief Medical Officer and the COVID – 19 Task Force determine that it is necessary to close educational institutions as part of our national response to COVID–19.

Be assured that our children will not be devoid of instruction in the face of school closure. I take this opportunity to remind you that, at this time, government schools remain open.

The Ministry of Education will continue to update you periodically. Communication from the Ministry of Education can be accessed at its website: www.education.gov.kn

Additionally, we urge you to monitor our government’s news briefings and updates for official and reliable local information.

May God continue to protect the people and residents of our beloved Federation.

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