Developing New Habits
With yesterday’s partial reopening of schools and the increase in the maximum number of passengers permitted on minivans, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has taken its first major steps along the path to learning to live with Covid-19.
The students chosen to test the waters are those scheduled to write external examinations in the next few months. The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has announced that its Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment (CPEA) for grade six pupils will take place June 25 and 26, while the papers for the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) will be written in July.
These students needed to return to school for final interaction with their teachers. The break from face-to-face classes since March 20 has been a long one, and although online classes have been taking place for about a month now, not all students benefitted to the same extent, so it was only fair that students who needed the assistance be given the opportunity to get it.
Understandably, some parents and students are a bit nervous, but given our children’s upcoming appointments with the examiner and taking into consideration that St Vincent and the Grenadines has not had any serious cases of the novel coronavirus, nor have we had any deaths, moving forward in a cautious manner is, in our opinion, justified.
However, operating under the special protocols stipulated by the ministries of health and education will call for a great deal of discipline and consistency from all stakeholders. We can see how adhering to these rules could be burdensome. But we must stick to them, even with our low Covid-19 numbers. They must become new habits, a new way of living.
Another new habit that we hope will quickly develop is the wearing of masks by everyone who travels in a public service vehicle – it should be mandatory. No one should be allowed to get on a minivan if he or she is not wearing a mask. Physical distancing is absolutely impossible in a minivan, unless there is only one passenger, seated at the very back of the vehicle.
Even in cases where there is only one person seated in each row, passengers are still only separated by one to two feet from the passenger in front and the one behind. Consider the situation if rain begins to fall and the windows have to be closed! Donning a mask when we enter a van and taking it off when we exit should become second nature. It is the sensible thing to do to protect each other.