By Ministry of Education
(PRESS RELEASE) — On Friday, October 16, following a multisector meeting involving officials from the Ministry of Education, the Saint Lucia Teachers Union, the Ministry of Health and other concerned parties, a decision was taken to close the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School for two weeks while other learning institutions around the island will remain closed for one week. This, in light of COVID-19 case number 32 – a Form three secondary school student, as well as case 33 who works at the educational institution.
According to the Minister for Education Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert, during this period, the Ministry of Health will continue with its contact tracing as well as testing. There will also be further deep-cleaning and sanitizing of all schools, a process which under the protocols for schools takes place weekly, in addition to the daily cleaning of schools.
Since then, testing has been conducted for students and staff at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School and as of today, Monday October 19, all teachers and ancillary staff have been tested.
Students of form three were also tested in the first instance with wider testing taking place on the weekend.
On Saturday, October 17, the Ministry of Health conducted 182 tests at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School as well as additional screening of parents and students.
The Department of Education is asking the general public to work with the Ministry of Health and encourages anyone with respiratory signs and symptoms to visit the nearest respiratory clinic. Persons are asked to cooperate with the Ministry of Health in its contact tracing efforts. However, the Ministry of Education cautions against any form of stigma and discrimination against teachers, students and staff particularly those of the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School at this time.
There must be a certain level of compassion and sensitivity, even as the public is being asked to take the necessary precautions, the Ministry says. However our children and teachers should not be unfairly targeted or discriminated against in any form or fashion. From all we have heard Covid-19 could be with us for a while, so we must learn to manage it, act responsibly and refrain from spreading any fear or panic.
The general public is asked to pay attention to official sources of information and discourage the spread of second hand information and fake news.
Parents and students can keep in contact with the school via its official email or by staying in touch with the respective home room teachers. Students are asked to use the two weeks wisely by continuing online learning, engaging in the exercises set out by teachers and remaining at home.
Hon. Dr. Gale Rigobert says she recognizes that this is a time of much concern and anxiety and empathizes with all of the teachers, parents and students, particularly those affected by the recent developments.
The Department of Education she says, will continue to work very closely with stakeholders, partners, sister ministries and sister agencies to monitor the situation and to make the necessary adjustments and interventions.
“I want to continue to reassure the public, parents and guardians, that we are committed to safeguarding the health and safety of our nation’s children, teachers and ancillary staff and I ask the public to continue to cooperate with us, and to adhere to the protocols. Because the only way we can overcome this is if we do it together,” Dr. Rigobert says.