Some primary school classes will re-open on French side May 18

Some primary school classes will  re-open on French side May 18

MARIGOT--Following two weeks of tripartite working meetings on the re-opening of schools in St. Martin between Collectivité, the Rectorat and the Préfecture, the decision has been taken to authorise only the opening of CP classes, double classes of CP/CE1 and CM2 in all primary schools from May 18.

  This joint decision comes after the meeting on Thursday, May 7, between Préfète Déléguée Sylvie Feucher and her services, Rector of Guadeloupe Mostafa Fourar and his services, Vice-Recteur Michel Sanz, Inspector Dominique Boyer, National Education representative Climent-Pons, President of the Collectivité Daniel Gibbs, Vice-President Annick Pétrus, and services of the Collectivité and Caisse Territorial des Oeuvres Scolaire (CTOS).

  Gibbs and his team took into account the worrying statistics provided by National Education on pupils of CP/CE1 and CM2 falling behind. These are critical classes in terms of learning to read and calculate.

  Some 80 per cent of schools in St. Martin already fall within the scope of priority education and the social circumstances that affected St. Martin during the school year were not conducive to learning to read for CP and CE1. In view of what is at stake for these levels of education, it was decided to allow them to return to school as of Monday, May 18.

  A total of eight primary schools will therefore re-open at the same time on May 18.

  The Collectivité has launched repair work in all the first-level schools concerned. These works are ongoing and mainly concern rehabilitation of electricity networks in the buildings, and ventilation and plumbing networks in the sanitary facilities. The work will be completed by the end of this week.

  To ensure perfect hygiene in the classrooms, the Collectivité has launched a public contract for the disinfection of schools. All classrooms will be disinfected during the week of May 11 and this operation will be repeated as many times as necessary. Due to the very low number of children registered for school transport, this service will not be activated.

  Parents of these three levels of education, exclusively, will have an additional right to register their children up until May 22, 2020. Requests to return to class after this date will be studied by the inspector of the first degree in conjunction with the Collectivité and return to class will be effective as of June 2, 2020.

  The class schedules set by the French National Education system are: CP, CE1 and CM2 students will be taught from 8:00am to 12:45pm, Monday to Friday (Wednesday included). The reception of children will be staggered from 8:00 to 8.30am. The school day will be continuous. The teachers will participate in the children’s lunch.

  CTOS will be responsible for the production and delivery of hot meals every day from 11:00am. The CTOS staff will prepare the meals in the canteens. The meals will be taken by the teachers and the children of each class in small groups, respecting the rules of distancing and hand-washing.

  To prevent concentration of pupils and any health risks, a rotation of hours in each of the canteens may be set up. The Rectorat specifies that teachers will carry out this work in addition to their regulatory obligations of service.

  Aware of the immense social and economic difficulties experienced by families, and given the need to avoid health risks and at the same time contribute to the children’s recovery after this long period of confinement at home, Gibbs has decided to grant free school meals for all St. Martin children until the end of the school year.

  According to forecasts, 500 pupils are potentially concerned by this return to school, at a rate of 12 pupils per class in 50-metre-square classrooms and 10 pupils per class in 45m2 classrooms. According to national regulations, the wearing of masks is compulsory for teachers and supervisory staff, not for pupils.

  Gibbs and his team insisted throughout the discussions not to put students at risk and to ensure that the strictest health and safety measures will be applied for the re-opening of the schools.

  On this point the Collectivité is responsible for equipping its staff with protective equipment and the schools with liquid soap. Fourar said he has placed an order for masks for the staff of National Education. Feucher confirmed the availability of masks in sufficient quantity for teachers and school supervisors, thanks to the scheme launched jointly by the Collectivité, the Préfecture and Fondation de France to have washable fabric masks made by local seamstresses.

  As hygiene practices are much more difficult to apply for very young children, the Collectivité has indicated that it will not be able to open nursery schools in satisfactory health and safety conditions before the start of the school year in December. The Rectorate specifies that resumption of pre-school education, exclusively for sixth and fifth grade pupils, is the subject of studies that are not complete. Final information will be sent to parents in the coming days. Secondary schools remain closed for the moment.

  The Préfète, President of the Collectivité and the Recteur are doing everything possible with their teams to ensure that hygiene measures can be implemented. This shared decision to reopen schools by levels of education meets the specific educational needs of the children of St. Martin.

  The re-opening plan was presented to the teachers’ unions and territorial staff, as well as to parents’ associations.