PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Silveria Jacobs said on Thursday that schools in St. Maarten will remain open until further notice.
Jacobs said in a press statement that the government of St. Maarten has taken note of the notice by French President Emmanuel Macron and by extension Préfète Déléguée of St. Martin and St. Barths, Sylvie Foucher related to school closures within all French territories. She made clear that this decision does not affect schools on Dutch St. Maarten.
She said in previous discussions held with the Préfète, this topic was covered at length. It was decided that in the event either side of the island had confirmed and unrelated cases requiring hospitalisation (two on Dutch St. Maarten or three on French St. Martin), that closure of schools would be the first phase of “shut down” to prevent further spreading of the virus, Jacobs said.
“As that is currently not the case on either side, while the French side has to follow the lead of the state, St. Maarten will make that call when and if it is deemed necessary.”
She said at this point, St. Maarten has not yet reached the threshold as agreed upon for school closure. The Health Ministry’s Collective Prevention Service (CPS) and the St. Maarten Red Cross have been actively involved in executing the COVID-19 awareness programmes amongst the various stakeholders in the education sector. Inspectors will continue to monitor, report and advise, should school closures be necessary.
The public is encouraged to remain calm, continue to use proper hygiene, wash hands often, keeping hands away from the face, and ensuring cleanliness in and around living areas. Parents are urged to teach and re-enforce proper hygiene at home, and to keep sick children at home until they are well.