PHILIPSBURG–The closing of schools is not a decision that can be taken on its own as this is tied into the economy and can affect businesses, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) Wycliffe Smith said in allying the concerns of some parents who were wondering whether school would be closed and others wondering why it wasn’t closed on Wednesday during the passing of Tropical Storm Dorian, now a hurricane.
“If schools closed suddenly, parents who have no one to take care of their small children at home and are forced to take certain decisions – like “do I stay at home with children or can I take my child to work?” They also ask themselves… if there is someone with whom they can leave their child or children,” Smith said during the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.
“Closing schools can disrupt businesses like banks and the island. In emergency situations, you will hear from the Prime Minister if schools and other businesses are to be closed. Under severe weather conditions, if schools warrant closing, you will hear from the Minister of Education. In situations like these, tune-in to the media and we certainly will ensure that you get the right information,” Smith noted.
He assured that government won’t put children at risk. “Given our current weather situation with tropical storms in Caribbean Sea, I know that parents were wondering whether schools would be open (on Wednesday). I want to put parents and the community at ease that we will not put your children at risk,” Smith said. “Together with the Prime Minister, who is the chairperson of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), we monitor the weather and if, due to heavy rains, or flooding our children will be at risk, then we certainly will announce the closure of schools via the media,” he stressed.
According to Romeo-Marlin the decision to close schools in normal circumstances will lie with the Minister of Education and during severe emergencies when the EOC is activated, then the public will hear from the Prime Minister. She urged residents to be prepared for the hurricane season.