Strict protocols enforced as schools reopen in St Lucia
A young girl gets her temperature checked upon arrival at school
As students and teachers return to classrooms for the new academic year, schools across the island of St Lucia are looking to ensure that protocols are adhered to so as to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Strict guidelines were put in place by their Ministry of Health to protect parents, students, and teachers against the coronavirus disease 2019, including observing social distancing.
"We put in a lot of work in terms of preparations for school, the teachers worked very hard, the teachers came in almost every day of the summer to ensure that the physical plant was ready to receive the students and our instructional plan was together.
"So far we are seeing the results of our hard work; the students are coming in, the parents are coming in, they are following the guidelines that we gave during the orientation to parents and it has gone very smoothly so far," Principal of the Camille Henry Memorial School, Beverley Dieudonne told Loop News Monday.
Washing stations, temperature checks, and hand sanitizer were administered upon entry into the learning institution.
"It is mandatory that they wash their hands and get their temperature checked before proceeding to the classrooms and that has gone very smoothly this morning," Dieudonne said.
According to the school principal: "It is heartwarming and very encouraging, I feel very excited today seeing the students coming this morning."
Additional protocols include students being placed on a rotation system to observe social distancing.
"This week we begin with our kindergarteners and our head 6's coming in every day, from next week our grade 1's will also be coming in every day and the rest of our school from our grades two to our grade fives will be coming in on alternate days and one Friday of the month."
This, she says, will not affect the students' instruction time and learning.
"We are going to provide quality and not quantity of instruction and we know that with the blended approach that we will be using, our students will definitely not be left behind," Dieudonne declared.
Kelvin Adams and son
Kelvin Adams spoke to Loop News Monday morning as he dropped off his five-year-old son who will be entering Grade 1.
"It is a bit of a big change. Preparations was [sic] not too difficult but it is just that having to make sure that we as parents have all that is necessary and are prepared to follow the necessary protocols that is put in place. I think it is very good, given the pandemic that we are in, in order for us to safeguard the health of our children and teachers as well," Adams said.
However, unlike the school principal, Adams believes the rotation system will affect students' learning.
"In some way, I believe it will affect students learning because for one he is only doing two days of school and every last Friday, so that is very big reduction in terms of the time they spend in class and their learning so it puts more responsibility on you as a parent who have your own responsibility and job and still have to try and instill doing a bit of homeschooling at the same time with the school."
Most students across the island returned to the classrooms today following a forced closure in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.