St. Kitts Nevis Observer

Schools in St.Kitts and Nevis, scheduled to reopen September 6, after a long summer break, will remain closed after a new surge in coronavirus cases..

The announcement was made by Premier of Nevis Mark Brantley said the NIA has also closed the Department of Education and other key government departments. Senior public servants have been forced into quarantine and or isolation due to either contracting the coronavirus or being exposed to the virus through contact with infected persons.

“I regret to report that we have been forced to close the Department of Education until further notice. We have also been forced to delay the reopening of all schools on Nevis initially for one week as we monitor the situation. This is as a result of key Education personnel contracting this dreaded virus. The consequences of this for our children’s education and for the ease of parents, many of whom depend on their children being in school whilst they work, are far-reaching. Any contagion in our schools and among our vulnerable children must be avoided at all cost.”

Premier Brantley in his address to the people of Nevis said this is not fair to the children of Nevis as their education is being jeopardized. To this end, he made the call for teachers and other education officials to get vaccinated.

“My government has committed to safe schools and ensuring that all of your children placed in our care are safe. We cannot achieve this if some of our teachers and other education officials and personnel remain unprotected…I am to advise that the position of my Government is again to urge the immediate vaccination of all teachers, auxiliary school staff, daycare and nursery providers, caregivers to the elderly, nurses and other medical staff, prison officers, police and other security personnel. If you will not do it for you then I beg of you to do it for those in your care and those who are depending on you.”

In St. Kitts and Nevis as outlined in the Statutory Rules and Regulations, “A period of curfew is imposed every day from 1:01 a.m until 5:00 a.m…” for the next two weeks.

As it stands businesses remain open and persons continue to go about daily activities while adhering to the COVID-19 non-pharmaceutical protocols of social distancing, hand sanitizing and mask-wearing. Ferries between the two islands also continue to operate.

Activities for the virtual hosting of Culturama 47 continue as well, with the most recent hostings being the Soca Monarch Semi-Finals on Saturday and the Calypso Semi-Finals on Sunday.

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus by limiting movement, the Premier announced restrictions that are expected to be followed.

“My government’s position is that all bars, restaurants and places of recreation involving music and the sale of alcohol should be severely restricted in their hours of operation until such time as we are past this surge.

“We shall engage with the proprietors of such establishments to achieve this, barring which we shall suspend business and liquor licenses for those refusing to comply. During this time, there shall be no permission granted for any mass gatherings, parties or fetes. I have asked the Police and Security Forces on Nevis to be vigilant and to rigorously enforce the protocols enshrined in law.”

To assist in the fight against covid-19, the Nevis Island Administration will be distributing critical supplies such as hand sanitisers, masks and other protective gear to all schools, daycare centres, hospitals and health centres, homes for the elderly and churches across the island. As supplies permit, distributions will also be made to individuals in communities across Nevis.

This will mark the second time the government has done this since the start of the pandemic.

There have been 196 cases confirmed in Nevis with six hospitalizations and no deaths on the island.

Both islands have experienced a marked increase in cases. The most recent situation report shows an overall total of 546 active cases in the federation. To date, there have been 5 deaths. 33 cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours. The total number of confirmed cases to date stands at 1,230 with  196 for Nevis and 1,034 for St.Kitts.

On September 1st the federation began its rollout of the Pfizer vaccine which allows for children 12 and older to receive the jab. The target is to have four thousand eight hundred children vaccinated.

Schools on sister island St. Kitts will reopen as scheduled beginning on Monday, September 6, 2021.

Updates are expected to be given by the Ministry of Education on Nevis as it relates to the transition to virtual learning and the way forward for its staff and students.