PHILIPSBURG:--- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister and Chair of EOC, Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, instructed all educational institutions on the island to be closed to students and the public as of March 18, 2020. To continue the learning process, schools opted to conduct classes online (distance learning). Unfortunately, many students on the island do not have a proper device or internet service at home to allow them to follow classes. In August with the new school year scheduled to begin, the Minister of Education, Honorable Rodolphe Samuel instructed the schools to continue with distance learning, this decision was made to mitigate the active COVID-19 cases on the island.
Many students are impacted by this new style of learning because they do not have the required tools for online classes. In an effort to assist the community in this dire time, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise kicked off a project with the objective of providing students in need with appropriate learning tools required to follow classes successfully. Family & friends from around the world were approached and asked for a contribution towards the project, some chose to contribute funds while others contributed devices.
TelElm who is an avid supporter of the club and very active in the community, was approached and without hesitation donated 10 one-year free internet service vouchers. The club has been partnering with Motorworld for the past seven years on a back to school project where students are supplied with a backpack filled with school supplies, due to the current learning process 19 tablets were donated instead.
Thus far the club was able to collect enough funds to purchase 42 laptops and tablets which along with the internet service vouchers courtesy of TelElm were distributed to various elementary and secondary schools.
One internet service voucher was supplied to the Rupert Maynard Community Center. Students can go to the community center with their device to access internet service and follow classes.