As schools across Barbados welcome the return of students for face-to-face classes, hundreds of students at two of the island’s northern primary schools will now be able to enjoy added sanitation conveniences with the construction of hand wash stations and upgraded water management systems implemented by the Sandals Foundation.
The activities which are valued at over BD $44,000, form part of the continued partnership between the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International and Coca Cola Latin America to enhance accessibility to safe and potable water services through its ‘Water Harvesting and Sanitation for Schools’ project.
At Half Moon Forte Primary School, students and the teaching community are now benefitting from the construction of uniquely separated water stations to further add to social distancing requirements, while at Roland Edwards Primary, the school’s new water stations have been complemented with the installation of water tanks and pumps to ensure the uninterrupted presence of water to meet the institution’s personal hygiene needs.
Principal of Half Moon Fort, Ingrid Lashley said the new water stations have made a tremendous difference as previous stations proved challenging for smaller children to navigate.
“With the return to in-personal classes and the need to maintain the Covid-19 protocols, the new water stations are a welcomed enhancement to the school’s sanitation systems. The design allows for the children to wash their hands in separate stalls, as well as for easier maintenance by the janitorial staff. The addition of a step also allows younger students from the junior school to have easier access to wash their hands.”
At Roland Edwards Primary, Principal George Francis welcomed the infrastructural improvements as “the addition of the pump and new water tank allow for a more constant flow of water throughout the school”.
The construction of hand wash stations and improved sanitation infrastructure have been longstanding areas of support of the Sandals Foundation, further intensified with the onset of the novel coronavirus.
“We support the government’s efforts to minimize the risks and increase safety across our region’s schools so it was important for us to see how we can help make the process as smooth as possible,” says Heidi Clarke, executive director at 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.”
And as Resort Manager at Sandals Barbados Patrick Drake notes, the team continues to explore more schools to support.
“We want to ensure that our children are protected. We are currently looking to work with two additional schools to bring this initiative to the South of the island and are confident we can reach out to other schools in the future, ” said Drake.