The Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) has been added to the list of Safe Schools under the Safe School programme led by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
The school’s certification comes following an assessment for health and safety requirements in accordance with the minimum standards established in the Ministry of Education’s 2011 School Health and Safety Policy.
The school was presented with the Safe School seal on Tuesday, January 31 by DDM’s Information and Education Manager, Mrs. Viona Alexander-Smith.
Mrs. Smith said, “The DDM congratulates the VISTS for taking the necessary steps to achieve the Safe School certification and we encourage you to maintain this status by continuously undertaking health and safety improvements”.
She added, “The School is now in a position to move to the next phase of certification and become a SMART School which involves implementing climate change adaptation or green practices in line with the standards in our SMART assessment tool”.
Principal of the VISTS, Ms. Germaine Scatliffe indicated that the school will now be pursuing SMART certification.
Ms. Scatliffe said, “The process of ensuring that the school met the Safe School requirements involved dedication and hard work. We are pleased to have met the requirements and our goal now is to work on becoming a SMART School”.
The School’s certification is valid for three years; therefore, the VISTS must undergo another assessment before January 2020 if they wish to maintain the certification.
The Safe Schools programme is in keeping with the United Nations Worldwide Initiative on Safe Schools and adapted from the PAHO Safe Hospital’s Initiative. The BVI Safe Schools programme was developed to ensure the Territory’s’ learning facilities are prepared to appropriately handle the impact of any hazard while at the same time promote a culture that encourages the health and well-being of students and staff.
The VISTS’ certification brings to twenty the number of Safe Schools in the Territory; two of these Schools are also SMART Schools.
Schools that have achieved the Safe School certification are encouraged to work towards achieving the SMART School certification. The SMART Schools programme builds upon the Safe School initiative and is awarded to schools that combine the ‘Safe Schools’ health and safety requirements with green practices aimed at reducing the effects of climate change. SMART refers to Sustained Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilient Techniques.