The teaching schedules have not been increased nor extended, as it all falls within the regulations from the Department of Education. An extra 40 minutes has been set aside to accommodate teachers and students to receive a warm meal for lunch during this time in order to meet the need that had been perceived after the passing of Irma. The lunches will be provided by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, however, as of October 16th, the Red Cross NL has pledged to prepare 4000 meals for teachers and students of the elementary schools. Lunch in elementary Public Schools will be provided from 1:20pm until 2:00pm.
The St. Maarten Vocational Training School will be the only public school returning to regular hours of 7:30 until 2:45, due to the contact hours already ending at 2:45pm Parents may opt not to have their children stay in school, and pick them up at 1:20pm. Students who utilize the busses will have to wait until 2:00pm to leave the school premises. On September 30th the school bus operators were made aware of the new scheduling via a letter and this information was also shared during the press conference on October 1st. Miscommunication seems to also have occurred in this area, however, school bus operators are currently fully aware of the change in pick up and drop off times.
Note has also been taken of Windward Island Teacher’s Union (WITU) visits to several schools as well as a request for a meeting on short notice which could not be held. However, a meeting will be scheduled as soon as possible to clarify to the unions how and why decisions were made which may have caused some discontent among teaching staff as well as management. Minister Jacobs thanks all teachers for their continued dedication to education and the students they serve and continues to pledge to assist in any way possible to make this difficult period as pleasant as possible under the circumstances.