The Claudia Creque Educational Centre on Anegada and the Jost Van Dyke Methodist Church Early Childhood Development Centre have been recertified as Safe Schools under the Virgin Islands Safe Schools Programme.
The Safe Schools programme is implemented by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The two schools were recertified following an assessment to ensure they have maintained the minimum requirements established in the Ministry of Education and Culture’s 2011 School Health and Safety Policy.
Director of the DDM, Sharleen DaBreo said, “We congratulate these two schools for their commitment to maintaining health and safety standards at their institutions. Children are especially vulnerable to hazard impacts, but through programmes such as the ‘Safe Schools’, we can reduce their risk and strengthen their resilience.”
The recertification is valid for three years and the schools must undergo another assessment in 2020 if they wish to maintain the certification.
Minister of Education and Culture, the Honourable Myron V. Walwyn added, “We are pleased with the schools’ level of interest and dedication to the programme and we commend them for maintaining and improving their standards in order to retain their certification. A healthy and safe learning environment is essential for our children to thrive and so the Ministry remains committed to the programme and will continue to tap into available resources to ensure that more schools are able to achieve and maintain Safe standards.”
The Safe Schools Programme is in keeping with the global safe schools and safe health structures initiative and was developed to ensure the Territory’s’ learning facilities are prepared to appropriately handle the impact of any hazard while at the same time promoting a culture that encourages the health and well-being of students and staff.
Schools desirous of achieving Safe certification or recertification are evaluated using an assessment tool formulated based on the minimum standards established in the Ministry of Education’s 2011 School Health and Safety Policy. The assessment tool takes into consideration the safety needs of schools at pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary levels as well as “special needs” institutions. The assessment requires a minimum score of 80% for certification and examines the functional aspects of school operations as well as structural and non-structural components of the physical structures in which the schools operate.
Other schools are being encouraged to move towards being certified as Safe Schools and schools that have achieved the ‘Safe School’ certification are being encouraged to work towards achieving the SMART School certification. SMART refers to Sustained Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilient Techniques. This is awarded to schools that combine the ‘Safe Schools’ health and safety requirements with green practices aimed at reducing the effects of climate change.
Schools interested in learning more about the Safe School Programme or would like to be assessed for Safe certification should contact the Department of Disaster Management on 468-4200 or email [email protected].