Salem Primary hailed as model school in observing COVID-19 protocols
The Salem Primary and Junior High School in Beeston Spring, Westmoreland, has been hailed by the parish’s health department as a model institution in observing the coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols.
The institution resumed face-to-face classes on January 11 under strict COVID-19 guidelines outlined by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and has been going the extra mile to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, who has been conducting public education sessions at schools opened for face-to-face learning in the parish, said that the administration at Salem Primary and Junior High School has been doing an exemplary job in executing the COVID-19 protocols.
“When I went to Salem, I was very impressed with what I saw there in terms of the organisation and how the protocols are being carried out. You could see the coordination between the principal and the guidance counsellor … they had their wash stations, the students were queuing up based on the protocols, and there was a teacher to ensure that these things take place,” he says.
Working as a team
Principal of the institution, Tanisha Ford-Farquharson, said a collaborative approach is being employed by the teaching and ancillary staff to protect the school population against COVID-19.
She says that the temperature of students and staff are checked at the gates every morning, and a second check is done in the afternoon and the readings logged.
“We basically work together as a team … to ensure that everyone is safe who comes here. So we’ve put in all the protocols, we’ve ensured that hand wash stations are in place, we have sanitisation stations at strategic points right across the school, the isolation room is in place, and we also ensure that we have our sick bay and everything is up to standard,” she shares.
The classrooms have also been rearranged to facilitate social distancing while desk and chairs are sanitised during break and lunch sessions.
“The students are allowed to … wash their hands before they go for break, and while they are washing their hands, their classrooms are being sanitised by our cleaners. They come back to a clean desk to have their (snack) or to have their lunch and when they are finished eating, it is also sanitised again,” Ford-Farquharson says.
“Right after lunch we have a mask change because we want to ensure that the students are not wearing the same mask for the entire day, so we allow them to do the mask change, which is done at designated locations on the outside. Each class knows their location so they go and do the mask change and then get back to their classes. We also have a mask break at 2 o’clock to give them some air to breathe,” she further details.
Meanwhile, Ford-Farquharson says there has been an increase in the number of students attending classes since the resumption of face-to-face learning.
“I am happy for the students because we had low turnout [for online classes] because the Internet is a great issue in the community,” she notes.
The students are happy to return to school and do not mind the strict COVID-19 guidelines.