Coronavirus Precautions – We’re closing for a month

By March 18, 2020 August 19th, 2020 No Comments
Like so many of you, our plans for March looked very different a few weeks ago. We were looking forward to sharing the story of our successful review by the Ministry of Education, and the progress made by a dedicated team of builders from St Michael’s Episcopal Church in Raleigh, North Carolina.
But, life is always unexpected, and as founder Francis Wilson would say “Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.” Therefore, we bring you a very different update.

No corona virus yet, and our airport remains open

At the time of writing (March 17 – St Patrick’s Day), Belize has no confirmed cases of Corona Virus, and our airports (and bars) remain open to Americans and other countries where the outbreak is not severe. Local sentiment is divided between appreciating the income and concern over the lack of medical capacity in the country – no amount of curve flattening will be enough.

We’re doing everything possible to protect our staff and students

Prior to a national announcement, we proactively took steps to protect our staff and students, keeping classes going while trying to reduce social mixing. We served lunches in the classrooms to avoid crowding in the cafeteria. We found creative ways to play in the classrooms, too.
We insisted that any sick children were sent home.

Numbers of students have already begun to drop off, so our teachers have adapted, letting students do art projects and catching up on missed and unfinished work. Other classes, Like Ms Delvi’s Standard 5, used computers to learn and watch the movie of the book they’re studying for the literacy comprehension program.

We’ll be closing for a month (reopening April 20th)

The Ministry of Education has announced that all schools must close at the end of this week and not reopen until after the Easter Vacation. This means all students will learn at home for two weeks, then have their usual 2 week vacation.
Our staff are ready for the challenge, preparing 2 weeks of printouts and worksheets for each child. (Thank you St Luke’s for your timely donation of toner!)

Island Preparations

Information on how islanders can prepare has been well spread, with daily advisories for personal care and on travel made available on the facebook group NEMO Belize Rural South.
It is good information, but sometimes hard to follow. For example “wash hands” is tricky when San Mateo often goes for hours at a time without running water due to island wide low pressure. Keeping a separate room to nurse your sick at home is impossible in a one bedroom house where everyone shares the same bed. On the other hand, whether or not the unofficial advice to “drink hot tea frequently” is medically sound, it is at least possible, hydrating and relaxing.
At this time, shops remain stocked, though 5 gallon drinking water is in short supply.

No Easter mission team this year.

Staff and students alike will miss seeing the annual team from St Michael’s Episcopal Church from Raleigh, North Carolina this year. Their team began the work on the House of Grace almost exactly a year ago, and was excited to help with its completion. Still, we are tentatively hopeful they can come this summer. We are grateful to the members of the team who continue to do fundraising towards the building project.
Students were also looking forward to the annual Easter Vacation Bible School, which has been cancelled (along with all the town council celebrations, including mothers day and the annual Costa Maya festival)

We thank the Mooers Family

With water in short supply we are incredibly grateful to the Mooers Family, who donated 2 huge water storage tanks to increase the rainwater storage capacity at the school. With these in place we’ll have a much larger reserve capacity, and can save on water bills during the rainy season.