PHILIPSBURG–Twenty-three schools operating in St. Maarten have submitted their safety and emergency plans to Education Ministry’s St. Maarten Student Support Services Division (SSSD), and some of the plans are being tweaked in accordance with the guidelines.
Education Minister Wycliffe Smith said on Wednesday all schools were requested to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs) for three emergencies. Hurricanes and fire were mandatory and the third chosen by schools were either flood, earthquake or tsunami.
Smith told reporters during the Council of Ministers press briefing that Safety and Emergency Guidelines require that all schools have safety and emergency teams in place. “As we are about to officially enter the 2019 hurricane season, we are proud to announce that all schools have installed such teams and the Student Support Services Division (SSSD) has called a meeting with the chair of the teams to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season and discuss training of the teams.”
Meetings were also held with school board representatives to update them on the progress with school safety plans. This ministry has been making considerable strides towards comprehensive school safety within the last year.
SSSD started this process in 2014, but it gained national focus after the passing of Hurricane Irma in 2017. All schools are required to have school safety and emergency plans that also incorporate psychosocial considerations, Smith said.
The School Safety Plans will have to be reviewed annually and SOPs will have to be drafted for all emergencies. The Safety and Emergency Management Committee (SEMC) will continue to prioritize this process and the further training of school teams is currently being planned. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport thanked schools for their commitment to this process, UNICEF Netherlands for their support and SEMC for continuing to champion school safety in St. Maarten.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/87901-23-schools-submit-safety-plan-to-sssd