As schools ensure readiness for the 2021/2022 academic year, the Sandals Foundation has made another investment in the island’s schools with the installation of a hand wash station and the further distribution of 39 digital tablets.
On Thursday, June 17, Charles Blacher Acting General Manager at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort was present at the LN Coakley High School’s Annual Careers Day Fair to officially hand over the sanitation station to add to the improved sanitization efforts of students, teachers and parents alike.
“As we increase the frequency of face to face instruction in schools, it was important for us at the Sandals Foundation to ensure there were added facilities to support the sanitation conveniences of everyone who will be on campus”.
The handwashing station was erected in partnership with Coca Cola Latin America and the generous donation of Sandals Emerald Bay.
D. B. Barr, Principal at The L. N. Coakley High School says, “The hand wash station is a significant improvement in terms of hand sanitizing in this era of Covid-19. Its location is crucial as it is at the cross-section where the vast majority of students traverse. [It] provides convenience for handwashing after the break, lunch, and the crossover from one class to the next”.
Additionally, as part of further investments into the island’s digital learning capacity, the Sandals Foundation has donated another 39 tablets across four schools. Last November, some 200 students received digital devices following the successful execution of the foundation’s online fundraising campaign, Lessons Alive.
Now, thanks to the donation of 31 additional devices from friends in Canada, and another 8 devices provided by loyal Sandals Resorts International Guests - the Fryers Family, students in need at Rokers Point Primary, George Town Primary, Forest Primary and Mt. Thompson Primary will able to get online for classes.
Pamela Gorte, District Superintendent at the Department of Education Exuma & Cays District says “The devices will definitely augment the online teaching/learning capacity of the schools. When we consider the number of challenges unemployed parents have with replacing or repairing devices, these additional donations will ensure that no child is unintentionally disenfranchised or left behind”.
Each child with a device, Gorte says, “is brought closer to the equity we are trying to achieve amongst the student body. As it stands there are students who are afforded devices and those who are not, however, this effort is just one step to attaining that desired equity”.
The sentiment was supported by Vanessa Penn, Principal of the Rokers Point Primary School who noted, “The pandemic forced schools to compose creative ways to maintain the teaching and learning process (but) many students did not have access to tablets or suitable devices. The donation will therefore help those students who were at a disadvantage.”
The Sandals Foundation has been a longstanding partner of the education sector in Exuma since its inception in 2009. Heidi Clarke, Executive Director credits, “The unwavering mandate of the organization and the unmatched support of guests, team members and partners who make it possible to meet real needs within the island in a sustainable way”.