Saturday 24 October, 2020

Hand-washing stations being built to strengthen hygiene at schools

Jody-Ann Clarke, student at Ocho Rios Primary School washes her hands at the newly constructed hand wash station with her mother, Akayla Riley, Sandals Foundation Public Relations Manager, Patrice Gilpin and Principal at the Ocho Rios Primary School, Suzette Barnes-Wilson looking on.

Jody-Ann Clarke, student at Ocho Rios Primary School washes her hands at the newly constructed hand wash station with her mother, Akayla Riley, Sandals Foundation Public Relations Manager, Patrice Gilpin and Principal at the Ocho Rios Primary School, Suzette Barnes-Wilson looking on.

As part of ongoing efforts to invest in the island’s education infrastructure and support the academic growth of students, the Sandals Foundation is constructing handwashing stations at twelve infant and primary schools across St. Ann, St Mary, Westmoreland and St James.

The construction of the hand-washing stations, which is valued at approximately US$22,000, is made possible due to support from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, a spirits company based in Austin, Texas, USA. 

In April, the company's philanthropic arm, Love, Tito’s, donated a total of US$25,000 to the Sandals Foundation to give back to the island’s hospitality workers and communities affected by the pandemic.

Now, bearing in mind the Covid-19 safety requirements for schools, the Sandals Foundation is working to help the island’s learning institutions meet the health, safety and sanitation measures.

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation says upon reviewing the Ministry of Education’s manual for the reopening of schools published in May, the team reached out to several institutions within tourism-dependent communities to assess their needs.

“We support the government’s efforts to minimize the risks and spread of the coronavirus especially within our schools so it was important for us to see how we could help make the process as smooth as possible.”

Ocho Rios Primary School students Tajae Brown and Jody-Ann Clarke pose with Principal Suzette Barnes-Wilson at the newly constructed hand wash station constructed by the Sandals Foundation

These handwashing stations and sanitation resources, Clarke continued, “we hope will help promote best practices amongst students, parents, guardians and teachers alike, create safer spaces for our young ones as they re-enter schools and help ease the anxiety of everyone involved.”

In addition to the handwashing stations, plumbing and drainage infrastructure which will be erected at the entrance of schools, institutions will be provided with automatic hand soap dispensers, start-up hand soap and paper towels, signage to encourage proper handwashing, handheld thermometers and reusable masks for teachers and staff.

Hand wash station constructed by the Sandals Foundation at the entrance of the Ocho Rios Primary School

Benefiting schools in Westmoreland are West End Early Childhood Institution, Torrington Early Childhood Institution, West End Infant School, Culloden Infant School, Kings Infant and Primary School and Whitehouse Early Childhood Institution.

Exchange All-Age, Seville Golden Preschool and Ocho Rios Primary School will benefit from the upgrades in St. Ann, while in St Mary - Boscobel Primary and Infant School will see the new handwashing stations erected. 

Finally, the targeted schools in St James are Leonora Morris Infant and Primary School and Whitehouse Basic School.

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