Thwaites visits Vere Tech after chik-V-related deaths
Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer
Vere, Clarendon: Education Minister Ronald Thwaites visited Vere Technical High School yesterday to offer sympathies to the school family following the deaths of two teachers and a student last week due to complications associated with the chikungunya virus (chik-V).
The minister was forced to give an abbreviated speech at the devotional exercise as showers of rain caused students to scamper for shelter.
Thwaites encouraged students and teachers to be of good courage in this time of distress.
"We reach out to all the relatives and friends of those who have passed away. Words can only do so much, but a prayer or a hug can make all the difference," the education minister said.
He urged the gathering to "put aside your personal worries and your selfishness and offer that hand of sympathy and consolation to those whose families have been struck by this loss".
In keeping with the local government vector-control programme, Thwaites challenged Vere Technical and all schools across the island to be centres of wellness.
"We have to become places of wellness, and our school plant is a major consideration. Don't wait on the ancillary staff to keep it clean. We have to keep it clean. We have to make sure that there are no mosquito-breeding sites on the school property.
Principal Dr Henrieta Stewart welcomed the support from the ministry as well as from other schools, churches, and civic groups.
"The support is overwhelming, and we thank those who came in to offer counselling and support in our time of grief."
She said the school was awaiting word on the individual funeral preparations to decide when they would hold a memorial service.