Students, teachers, and other school staff are expected to wear face masks while commuting and during school breaks during the day. (iWn Photo)

Students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be expected to wear a mask from the time they leave their homes until they get to school, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says.

However, the students will not be required to wear a mask at school, as their homes and schools will be treated as “bubbles” amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

School were originally scheduled to reopen on Monday, Aug. 31, but that has been postponed until Sept. 7.

“We are asking the parents to make sure that the children have masks that when they are in public transportation, put on the mask. In fact, when they leave your house, put on the mask. Put on your mask inside of the buses. If you’re traveling in a car, keep your mask on, too, because other persons in there. When you come out from the buses, from public transport going to the school, you wear your mask,” the prime minister said on his weekly show on NBC Radio.

“Inside of the school you don’t wear masks. Your home is a bubble. The school itself is a bubble. When you’re going in you have your temperature being checked. You have it checked periodically. You have the sanitising done on an on-going basis,” the prime minister said.

He further stated: 

“You’re not going to expect the children to wear the masks all day in school. So you have to treat that there as a bubble. Because if you’re in your home in a bubble, when you come out in the transport you put on your mask, when you come out your yard and when you’re walking on the road and during the lunchtime and all the rest of it when you leave school, that’s not the bubble. The home is the bubble. The school is the bubble. From bubble to bubble, but in between those two bubbles, that’s just the concept — highly recommended that you wear the mask.”

The prime minister said he knows there are some people who say that teachers should not be checking students’ temperature.

President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union, Oswald Robinson are among those who have expressed concerns about teachers performing this function, saying that teachers are not health care professionals.

Gonsalves said:

“Listen, a thermometer — you don’t have to have any special training. We have been going to events and persons who are not nurses take your temperature. It doesn’t expose you to anything.

“You put on your mask, you take your temperature on you or me or anybody else who’s coming inside of the building. It’s easy.”

Some persons had asked that nurses be assigned to school to check students’ temperatures.

Gonsalves said:

“Those who ask that we must have nurses at the schools, you have 61 primary schools and 27 secondary schools. We have pre-schools. We have different divisions of the Community College. Are we going to hire 100 extra nurses to take temperature when it is a function which can easily be performed by anybody who can just read that number, put it towards your forehead? I’ve had it done to me. So, in all of these things which we do, we have to do what is reasonable in all the circumstances.”

Gonsalves said there are “pages of guidance” put out by the Ministry of Health and which have been circulated to the principals and worked out with the Ministry of Education.

“And I expect that all the documentation, the actual protocols and the guidance notes would have been seen by the teachers. I think they have them up online, too, or they would know the essence of what these protocols are.

“We’re not legislating mandatory that you must wear the mask but it is highly recommended that you wear the mask in public transport. We want minibus operators to help us with that. The children will protect themselves and they will protect others.”

The prime minister congratulated the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Roger Duncan, and the professionals in the Ministry of Education for the way they have “gone about this with the principals and senior teachers and the like”.

“I want to commend them and I want to congratulate them. So I expect things to be fine there. I know that you’re going to encounter a hiccup here or there. Let us not make perfection the enemy of the good.

“And let’s take whatever little hiccup there may be here and there, let us take it in our stride and solve them practically and don’t make a ceremony out of what would be something which is easily solvable. I’m just urging all of that,” Gonsalves said.

2 replies on “Masks recommended as students move between home, school ‘bubbles’”

  1. Urlan Alexander says:

    Ralph oye! How many people you had wearing mask at Arnos Vale last week? You should lead by example. Talk is cheap, very cheap too.

  2. Kenton, please post this if you have no fear of being censored and punished by a LACK OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH from Google Facebook or possibly local establishment:

    Although I believe the government of SVG did a very good job during the height of the initial Covid-19 crisis, they have been slipping-up lately with this mask requirement and mandatory hotel quarantines.
    .
    Some weeks ago it was reported by the CDC as well as by credible news reporters such as Ben Swann that ALL RESEARCH AND STUDIES have concluded (beginning from as early as 2015) that wearing a mask does not and cannot stop or slow-down the spread of the virus. To put that more clearly:
    WEARING A MASK WILL NOT PREVENT YOU FROM GETTING OR SPREADING COVID-19!
    However, lately some studies have been RUSHED and apparently done with the goal of concluding that it does help.
    Many believe that requiring people to wear masks assists in keeping the public frightened; which helps in making it easier to control them.
    In Germany and many European cities MASS PROTESTS of tens of thousands of BETTER INFORMED people (INCLUDING HUNDREDS OF DOCTORS) have taken to the streets against wearing masks! The purpose of wearing a mask is for surgery and to prevent Medical Staff from spreading germs into the wounds of patients.
    When this virus first came out we were all frightened. Now we know much more about it. In spite of knowing more, governments still insist on keeping the same requirements, such as wearing masks and closing schools, even though ZERO CREDIBLE cases of children dying from the virus have been reported. It is now known that the virus spreads indoors and not outdoors, yet we are locked indoors whenever cases are reported.
    I suggest the reader research the truth about the virus from credible sources that have not been removed from the internet in an attempt to keep us controlled like frightened sheep.
    Be aware: Bill Gates is already talking about the next virus that may be a real threat! Look at this one as practice.
    I suggest the government of SVG apply the updated knowledge of what we now know about the virus and stop helping to spread fear with the draconian measure of FORCING people to wear masks even though it has been proven to be a totally senseless measure. If other places are totally stupid it does not mean we have to copy them and be stupid too. Make wearing masks voluntary.

Comments are closed.