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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (2420)

Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club Celebrates its 5th Anniversary

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The president of the club, Mr Damien Schmidt in a statement mentioned that "While the club’s 5th anniversary is originally in June, we did not want the year to pass by without recognizing this historical event in our club’s history.

Therefore, it was decided to celebrate our anniversary on Toastmasters Day". The meeting is scheduled for October 22nd, 2020 at 5:30 PM via Zoom ID: 514 742 3278, Password: 062015 under the meeting theme, “Honoring the Past, Ushering the Future.”

The general public is invited to join us as it promises to be an exciting evening where we will have renditions by local celebrities, and addresses by past presidents as we reminisce on our successes and challenges and mold the way forward for the club’s future.

Toastmasters is an international organization that specializes in honing the personal and professional development skills of communication and leadership for persons (young, mature and otherwise) who dare to challenge themselves to grow in a dynamic and friendly learning environment.

In return, these acquired skills foster the important attributes of self-confidence and personal growth necessary for public speaking, work, leadership or interpersonal communications.

The club meets twice monthly (every 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month) via the provided Zoom link at 5.30 PM. The entire population is welcome to attend.

Interested persons can visit the club or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Additional information can also be found on the club's Facebook page (Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club) or Instagram (cupecoysunsetters).

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St. Dominic High to Host Virtual Info Evening about IBDP Program on Thursday

SINT MAARTEN (REWARD) - The St. Dominic High School is hosting a virtual information evening on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) on Thursday October 22 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Interested students in Form 4 and the examination classes along with their parents are invited to learn more about this internationally recognized and rigorous pre-university programme. Information will be available explaining the subject prerequisites and the application process for the full diploma and diploma courses.

Students who would like to benefit from a pre-university study in one, two or three subjects are invited to get information about becoming a diploma course candidate in the IB Programme at St. Dominic High School. The admissions process will include placement for diploma course candidates in the following subjects: Spanish B, Dutch B, History, Business Management, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics: analysis and approaches, Mathematics: applications and interpretation and Visual Arts

Attendees will be given insight into the research process of the 4,000-word Extended Essay, the importance of learning outside the classroom with Creativity, Activity, Service and how we know what we claim to know in Theory of Knowledge.

The recent IB Class of 2020 gave feedback regarding their experience over the two years:

“The most beneficial part of participating in the Diploma Programme was to be able to discover a new facet of myself. With the English DP Course extensively designed to make students an ace in their writing and analytical skills, it enhanced my love for books and forced me to dig deeper within myself to find the why to every question and element in book and adversely in the world we live in today.”

Join us to learn how the IB Programme provides students with opportunities to explore and develop their personal and cultural identities and to apply their learning by taking action within their community.

St. Dominic High is one of 3,421 schools offering the Diploma Programme, in 157 different countries worldwide. It is also the first government subsidized school in the Caribbean authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to offer the Diploma Programme for students aged 16 to 19. The IBO collaborates with schools, governments and international organizations in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia to develop and offer challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment in order to achieve its mission of developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Students who are interested in the journey associated with learning, want to create opportunities for themselves, are driven to be successful and desire a more challenging curriculum that encourages them to think critically, to become internationally-minded, to reflect on their learning, and to develop university ready research skills are welcome to attend this virtual information evening on Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m.

If you are interested send an email to the Diploma Programme Coordinator Ms. M. Richardson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) requesting a link to the event.

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DCNA’s patroness Princess Beatrix Receives First Copy of The Update on Severe State of Dutch Caribbean Protected Area Management Organizations During COVID19 Pandemic

SINT MAARTEN/BONAIRE - The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) recently sent its Patroness Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix a memo on the state of the six Protected Area Management Organizations in the Dutch Caribbean, particularly with regards to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DCNA updated Princess Beatrix especially on the significant financial challenges faced by the Protected Area Management organizations due to the pandemic. 

The organizations play a critical role in the management of the natural resources central to the sustainable development of the islands but may not survive the COVID-19 crisis in their current capacity. Governments are urged to consider providing structural financial support so that the Protected Area Management Organizations can continue their vital work of safeguarding nature in the Dutch Caribbean. 

The Protected Area Management Organizations, Aruba National Parks Foundation, STINAPA Bonaire, CARMABI Curaçao, STENAPA St. Eustatius, the Saba Conservation Foundation and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, have been severely negatively impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

All Protected Area Management Organizations in the Dutch Caribbean have seen both a significant drop in income due to the disappearance of User Fees but also due to the non-consideration by local, national, and Kingdom Governments on structural funding for the execution of their critical conservation work.

This has resulted in the real possibility of Protected Area Management Organizations having to scale back or cease operations. This while the Dutch Caribbean is, according to the Convention of Biological Diversity, the most biodiverse area of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

The DCNA, as do her partner organizations of Worldwide Fund for Nature the Netherlands (WWF-NL) and Vogelbescherming Nederland, emphasize that:

- Quality of nature in Dutch Caribbean is deteriorating on all fronts

- The existing efforts and associated financing has not been able to halt this decline

- Protected Area Management Organizations are severely underfunded and may not

survive the COVID-19 crisis

-  There is a need for a coordinated, Kingdom wide effort for the conservation of nature in the Dutch Caribbean, the biodiversity hotspot of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 

The Board and Staff of DCNA has been working diligently in assisting the Protected Nature Management Organizations amidst the crisis. Amongst others, in collaboration with WWF-NL and Wolfs Company, DCNA has been providing STINAPA, the Saba Conservation Foundation, STENAPA and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation with an analysis of their financial situation during the COVID19 pandemic in order to identify the gaps in terms of financing. This study shows that there is a chance that the Protected Area Management Organizations may not survive the COVID-19 crisis in their current capacity. 

The situation for the Protected Area Management Organizations is dire. The impacts of COVID19 has been significant for the organizations who, despite this, continue their conservation activities. Due to the work being executed by the DCNA Network the impacts have been somewhat mitigated, but there is a significant risk of closure and the ceasing of activities. 

The DCNA hopes that discussions regarding liquidity support and financial relief packages will also include considerations for the continuity of protected area management in the Dutch Caribbean. Protection, management and conservation of the Dutch Caribbean’s vitally important natural resources will be critical to repairing damaged economies after COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ministry of VROMI alerts public to Great Salt Pond Pumping Operation. Advises against bathing/swimming in Great Bay

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI), informs the general public that the Department of Infrastructure Management, will open up the pumps leading water into the Rolandus Kanaal in efforts of lowering of the water in the Great Salt Pond due to excess rain experienced recently and expected to proceed over the weekend. The operation will commence today Saturday, October 17th.

The water level of the Great Salt Pond is required to stay below a certain level to alleviate flooding during heavy rainfall, particularly in the hurricane season.

Due to pumped water flowing to the Great Bay area, the department strongly advises against any swimming in Great Bay over the weekend.

This advisory is a precautionary measure to prevent swimmers from coming into contact with any contaminated water that could pose a health risk if ingested or by skin contact, thereby making the person vulnerable to recreational water illnesses.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

MinVROMI Pumping Operation Underway

 

 

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Rotary Mid Isle Donates to the Division of Public Education

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On October 13th, 2020, the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten - Mid Isle donated 60 packs of disinfecting wipes to the Division of Public Education.

Members of the Club present for the donation were Public Image Chair Anjali Manek, Foundation Chair Wayne Wilkie and District Governor Elect Louis Wever.

Interim Head Marcellia Henry accepted the donation on behalf of the Division of Public Education and thanked the Club for assisting them.

The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten - Mid Isle will meet Virtually next Tuesday at 7:30pm. For more information, please contact the Club at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Can Sustainable Tourism Save the Dutch Caribbean?

SINT MAARTEN/BONAIRE - The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) recently published a special edition of their free digital newsletter BioNews about the importance of designing and implementing sustainable tourism practices within the Dutch Caribbean. The idea is to promote sustainable practices on each of the islands to help conserve and restore the natural environments while enhancing the visitors experience and livelihoods of residents. 

Prior to 2020, international travel was getting progressively easier and cheaper. There was a pressure to offer visitors prime experiences at a discounted price which often created tension between nature management and conservation and the tourism industry. It is important to remember why tourists visit these islands in the first place; often to take advantage of the pristine nature, crystal clear waters and diverse ecosystems they have to offer. 

At first glance it may appear that the demands of increasing tourism are at direct odds with conservation efforts, but this does not have to be the case. Designing a sustainable tourism plan will not only work to protect the environmental richness that inspired tourists to visit the islands in the first place, but actually enhance their overall experience. DCNA just released its special edition BioNews on sustainable tourism, which promotes the idea of designing tourism to enrich the environment and local experience on the islands. It is paramount that the development and growth of the tourism industry within the Dutch Caribbean take into account the fragility of its natural resources and work to ensure that these environments are protected for everyone to enjoy for years to come. 

Uniqueness of the Dutch Caribbean 

Each of the six Dutch Caribbean islands have their own unique draw, enticing visitors from around the world each year. From environments ranging from tropical, cloud and dry forests to rich coral reefs, each island has something special to offer. Unfortunately, recent research has highlighted areas in which these environments have become gravely threatened, and if no action is taken soon, these environments could disappear completely. 

The main issues each island will have to face can be broken into four main categories: increases in human pressure, consumption of natural resources, inadequate infrastructure (to deal with waste water and solid waste) and climate change. Each island will need to consider how to adapt and deal with these four issues if they wish to design a sustainable tourism plan. 

Measuring Success 

Measuring the effectiveness of a sustainable tourism plan is not always straight forward. When determining the overall success, it is important to consider three aspects: environmental (how is the island physically coping with tourism), social (how is local culture and overall satisfaction of residents being influenced by tourism) and economic (how are the islands financially benefitting from tourism). A successful management plan must find a way to balance these three aspects. 

Consumers are learning that their choices are contributing to the overall health of local environments, and increasingly “quality” is being defined by the environmental and ethical components. Ecotourism has seen a rise in recent years, evident by Bonaire’s push to become the world’s first blue destination. Ecotourism could highlight some of the islands’ best natural features while still allowing tourists the opportunity to come and explore. This special edition BioNews explores various options available and provides recommendations for each island to consider. 

Receive nature news

Stay updated about nature research and monitoring projects in the Dutch Caribbean through the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance’s (DCNA) digital newsletter “BioNews”. Sign-up here, it’s free: https://www.dcnanature.org/subscribe/ 

More information

Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance- BioNews  special 2020- Designing Sustaiable Tourismhttps://www.dcnanature.org

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UD: Minister Doran out of touch with reality

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The unveiling of a multi-million-dollar project by the current Minister of VROMI E. Doran demonstrates the depth of how out of touch with reality this coalition Government is, the United Democrats (UD) party said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“The UD questioned, "What are the details of this project especially the source of funding and the overall projected cost?"

"One of this Minister's core speaking points was always a Calibration department during his tenure as a Member of Parliament. You would think a matter like this would have this government’s undivided attention, considering the economic impact COVID-19 is having on the working class of our country. But guess what? Not a word on this from his colleague minister of TEATT.

“Clearly a case of political banter on the floor of parliament, like in so many instances with the current ministers when they served in parliament.

“Matters are going downhill fast and the government is unable to stop the free fall.

“The General Audit Chamber’s report, the looming clash with the CFT on the loan issue are signs of a government without direction or leadership.

“You would think elections are around the corner, the way the government is behaving. Unveiling projects, without details at a time when government can’t even secure funds for its own immediate operations.

“How many plans do we have for this location? Wasn't the vision of the minister’s coalition partner for this location a Performing Arts Center and Library? What happened to that project?

“The UD also queries if all necessary due diligence has taken place prior to just releasing the latest costly artistic impressions.

“Would it not have behooved the coalition government to share these intended projects as part of their overall short- and medium-term plans for the country? We are in October and can’t get an amended government budget. The NA/UPP governing program that was released has no planning, no financial chapter, just another long list of wishful thinking.

“We are really in a sad state as a country and no signs of improvement coming from this government to instill confidence and give the people hope,” the UD Party statement concludes.

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Five-Star hotel development proposed at Indigo Bay Development

SINT MAARTEN (CAY BAY-Indigo Bay) - Tau Capital and Altree Developments Inc, both world-class real estate development firms, have partnered with Cay Bay Development N.V. (the master developer at Indigo Bay Development, CBD), to propose the development of a luxury Hotel resort and condos on Sint Maarten.

The proposed high-end hotel development at Indigo Bay Development is expected to feature certain luxury accommodations and 5-star amenities, approximately including, but not limited to:

  • 94 Hotel Rooms and suites
  • 55 Lanai Suites
  • 60 Two Bedroom Units
  • 15 Three Bedroom Units.
  • A Large luxury spa (10,000 sq. ft.)
  • Conference facility
  • An All-day dining restaurant
  • A Fine dining restaurant
  • Beach bar
  • Pool bar
  • Fitness center
  • Multiple pools
  • Kids & Teen Club.

Additionally, the proposed hotel development is expected to feature large water ponds and greenery areas in keeping with its eco-centric vision, as well as an extensive public parking area for public beach access to Indigo bay. The timing for such a development could not have come at a more opportune time as country St. Maarten is tasked with creating new and innovative strategies to counter the global economic crisis due to the pandemic. In an economy whereby hospitality and tourism are at the center of its recovery, it is expected that the development of a high-end branded hotel in SXM would provide an enormous boost to this endeavor by enhancing several areas in:

Tourism

  • Enhancing the global attractiveness of St. Maarten as a prime tourist destination
  • Increasing hotel accommodation by approximately 20%
  • Increasing the number of annual visitors to SXM is expected to increase due to this development by 32000 based on hotel occupancy of 65% (double), and an average stay of five nights.
  • Attracting high value tourist that may choose SXM as a vacation destination as opposed to accessing surrounding islands through our air and sea, ports of entry.

Labor (employment and training opportunities)

  • Providing Jobs during the planning and construction period for over several hundred technical personnel and local contractors alike.
  • Ensuring several hundred employment opportunities for locals to sustain resort operations once construction has been completed.
  • Providing internship opportunities for residents studying locally or internationally in the field of hospitality and hotel management.
  • Creating downstream opportunities in the hospitality, maritime, transportation, etc. sectors. (e.g. tour operators, boat charters, local restaurants, and bars, etc.).

The Economy

  • Creating New Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Exchange Earnings
  • Providing Additional revenues for SXM through substantial long term and ongoing contributions to its Tax revenue per annum.
  • Contributing to a major boost of the GDP of SXM.
  • Increase real estate sales over the next three years.

The total project development cost is estimated at US 220M. The proposed World-class hotel development once completed will be managed by an internationally recognized hotel brand, which will lend itself to greater global recognition. The addition of an international brand affiliated with one of the main hotel companies in the world, can be expected to drive substantial additional business to the island down the line. The projected marketed Average Daily Rate (ADR) for hotel rooms at the proposed new hotel development is expected to be substantially higher than the current average daily rates on St. Maarten.

The announcement in the international (travel) media of the planned development of a high-end branded hotel project at Indigo Bay Development would assist in highlighting St. Maarten to international travel industry professionals and suppliers. Airlines, travel wholesalers and independent travel agencies will take further notice. As will, investment firms and hotel development companies, interested in possibly adding St. Maarten to their portfolio for future investment opportunities.

The CBD and the principals of the proposed hotel development seeks to assure that the interest of the citizenry and of the environment are paramount to their endeavor and in doing so are cognizant of the misinformation being circulated widely about said development and would like to provide information to address same. One such instance has been the reported height of said development whereby many may confuse ‘height’ (above the ground) with ‘elevation’ (above the sea level). That being stated, the proposed hotel is designed not to directly obstruct any views whereby, the maximum roof height of the multi-story buildings are between 20.5m and 27.5 meters above sea level.

Further to this, CBD has requested approval for certain variances to Planning Permit PP-05088 ‘Cay Bay Development’. These requests were based on the commitment by CBD and its principals to invest not just in the infrastructure of the luxury hotel but also in its surroundings. To that end, the requested approval will finally provide the necessary assistance required to address the needs of the surrounding coastlines, beach facilities and marine life that were severely eroded and affected post hurricane Irma.

In terms of special consideration per the variances request submitted, CBD and the principals of the proposed hotel development have indicated

  • that some 6 acres of the overall hotel site of about 18 acres is projected as a green zone, including the retention ponds that were originally constructed at Indigo Bay Development by CBD.
  • Additionally, the proposed hotel development includes public parking facilities substantially in excess of required public parking and access as stipulated under the planning permit.

Towards beach development and amended setbacks in certain areas; the principals of the proposed hotel development have indicated:

  • that they are willing to look at compensation by way of the creation of the dedicated green zone with beach access and parking mentioned above,
  • via a beach restoration/protection program and/or the installation of reef balls in the bay.

The intention of the beach restoration initiative is geared towards having an environment that compliments the hotel and its many amenities. The aforementioned beach (Indigo Bay) will be a public beach as per the “beach policy” and the many upgrades outlined above is intended to ensure it is safe, aesthetic, and enjoyable for all. The new inhabitable buildings of the hotel development, with the exception of a small wedge of one 2 story building, comprising less than 200 square meters, does not infringe upon said “beach policy” nor will it.

On October 2nd, 2020, in accordance with the National Ordinance on Spatial Development Planning (AB 2013, GT no 144) and the Planning Permit PP-05088 ‘Cay Bay Estates’, Article 5.4, the minister of VROMI announced placement of the master plan Indigo Bay Hotel & Condo by developer Cay Bay Development NV (CBD) on public review for thirty (30) days.

As such, the principals of the proposed hotel development at Indigo Bay Development remains committed to full transparency in its undertakings and adherence to all relevant policies and laws of SXM.

Indigo Bay Aerial View L R

Renderings Indigo Bay Hotel & Condo Masterplan.

 

 

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INTERPOL reminds public that #OnlineCrimeIsRealCrime

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - While crimes like burglary and assault are something we can see, cybercrime is largely invisible, leading many people to underestimate its very real damage – or the likelihood of becoming a victim. But the effects of cybercrime can be just as devastating as physical crimes, with a number of potential dangers hidden online.

As well, victims of cybercrime do not always realize they should report these crimes to police in the same way they would if, for example, their home was robbed, since they do not actually witness the theft or the culprit.

Given the events around the world regarding COVID-19 virus and the opportunities that have arisen   for cybercriminals, a workshop for Public Awareness Campaign on “Digital Hygiene” was conducted on Thursday, 20 August 2020 by Interpol in its Phase II (Cyber Americas Project II) . The training given to members of KPSM was funded by the Government of Canada in its aiming to enhance the capacity of selected INTERPOL member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to counter cybercrime.

#OnlineCrimeIsRealCrime:

Through a new public awareness campaign launched last week, INTERPOL is sending the message that #OnlineCrimeIsRealCrime, should be regarded with the same seriousness as any other type of crime. The campaign will inform the public on the top cyber threats and how to spot them and provide general cybersecurity advice to help minimize the risk of becoming a victim.

Each of the next six weeks will be dedicated to a particular online crime theme, using INTERPOL’s social media channels to share the key messages via posts, graphics, and videos. The following online crimes, which have been identified as the key global threats, will be covered:

  • Phishing.
  • Ransom ware.
  • Sextortion.
  • Crypto jacking.
  • Business email compromise (BEC) fraud.
  • Online crimes against children.

General cyber hygiene tips will be incorporated throughout the campaign, offering simple, practical advice for protecting yourself, devices, and online accounts against cybercriminals.

“Even the most Internet-savvy person can fall for a cybercriminal’s tricks, so it’s important that everyone keeps their guard up when navigating the virtual world,” said Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime.

“But perhaps the most important message of all: online crime is real crime, so if you do become a victim, report it to the police right away like you would with any other crime,” he concluded.

The awareness campaign is being conducted under the umbrella of INTERPOL’s Cyber Americas II capacity building project, with expertise provided by INTERPOL’s Cybercrime program. The Cyber Americas Project, launched in 2018, is funded by the Government of Canada and aims to enhance cybercrime-fighting capabilities in 35 beneficiary countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through specialized training for law enforcement and prevention initiatives.

Law enforcement agencies throughout the Americas region and around the world, as well as key cybersecurity companies, will share the messages of the campaign using the #OnlineCrimeIsRealCrime hashtag to reach the widest possible audience. (KPSM)

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NAGICO donates Hand Sanitizing, Temperature Check stations and school supplies TO Public Schools

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In preparation for the reopening of Schools to in class instructions, NAGICO Insurances has donated automated hand sanitizing and temperature check stations to all seven (7) Public Schools and school supplies for the students.

This donation is a result of a partnership formed between NAGICO, the Ministry of Education, Sports & Culture to fully outfit the Public Schools with the necessary safety equipment and items needed to allow for proper sanitization, health and safety measures in school.

“With our schools physical reopening in the next week and the Coronavirus pandemic still prevalent, we at NAGICO felt it necessary and prudent to partner with the Department of Public Schools to help to provide a safe environment for our children and teachers as they venture back into the classrooms,” Eric Ellis, Managing Director and Head of NAGICO St. Maarten said. “The Inspectorate of Schools have set certain health and safety criteria, which each school must meet before being permitted to reopen, so it was based on those guidelines, that the collaboration was formed. NAGICO has installed a sanitization and temperature check station in all Public Schools and have committed to provide maintenance for these machines and hand sanitizer refills from the moment school reopens until the end of this year. In addition, we have provided over 500 swag bags with school supplies for the students as a little welcome back gift.”

The temperature check and sanitization stations are all automated non-touch systems, which displays hands-free temperature readings, as well as hands-free sanitizing dispenser. These machines will be placed at the security entrance of each Public School and will be able to detect anyone who has a fever before entering the premises and to encourage sanitizing at the same time.

The machines were officially presented to the Minister of Education Drs. Rodolphe Samuel and Acting Head of the Division for Educational Innovation, Mrs. Oralie Boirard who thanked NAGICO for this generous donation which they believe will extremely crucial part of their safety protocols for schools.

“After a prolonged closure of schools all over the world because of the epidemic, we as a Ministry together with our School Boards and other stakeholders have had to create protocols to safely reopen schools while taking measures to limit the spread of the virus,” Drs. Samuel said. “These measures have proven to be costly, especially considering the financial climate we as a country and individuals are going through and because of that we are very grateful to NAGICO for stepping up in such a big way and for taking their corporate social responsibility seriously.”

Drs. Samuel further explained that some of the safety and hygiene protocols being adopted includes: physical distancing measures inside and outside of the classrooms, the staggering of class schedules and recess periods, providing handwashing stations, the wearing of masks, regular handwashing, discouraging unnecessary touching and ensuring that sick students, teachers and auxiliary staff stay at home.

A range of sanitization and disinfection measures have been carried out at the schools and daily disinfection and cleaning of surfaces have been arranged. In class instruction resumes on October 19 in phases.

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