CMO: Considerations For Phased School Opening

Statement by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) – Dr. Sharon Belmar-George

In an effort to respond to and prepare for COVID-19, Saint Lucia implemented a number of control measures.

Some of these measures included movement restrictions, closure of businesses, travel restrictions, the 24 hour shut down, the institution of curfews and from very early, the closure of schools.

Saint Lucia, like many other countries in the region, has demonstrated that COVID-19 transmission can be slowed down and stopped.

To date, we have recorded a total of 18 cases, all of which have fully recovered. The last case was diagnosed over 19 days ago.

As countries manage to maintain low level transmission of COVID-19 a national risk assessment is done to balance the risk of relaxing measures, capacity to detect, test, isolate and treat cases efficiently.

The risk assessment is based on epidemiological factors, health care capacities and the availability of effective treatments. The adjusting of measures should be done in a controlled, slow and stepwise manner.

As the measures are lifted the strengthening of public health and social measures being implemented is necessary.

It is estimated that COVID-19 will be here with us for over 2 years. The education sector, in a similar way, like every sector needs to implement protocols to ensure safe instruction of our students.

In reality is the option keeping schools closed for 2 years?

We understand the fear and panic related to COVID-19 and this is also justified given the pandemic in the developed world. But we cannot act out of fear, we need to use the assessment of our local situation and ensure the necessary measures are in place to move forward.

Over the last few months the Ministry of Education and Culture has been working closely with the Ministry of Health in making decisions in relation to classes for 2 critical groups, the Grade 6 students and Form 5 students.

The risk based assessments includes the current understanding about COVID-19 transmission in children (data indicates mild disease in children), the local situation and epidemiology of COVID-19, the school setting and ability to maintain COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Additional factors that must also be considered include the harm that may occur due to school closure including the risk of non- return to school, widening disparity in educational attainment, limited access to meals, the need to maintain schools at least partially open for children whose caregivers are essential workers.

Our national situation in relation to COVID-19 has been explained. Based on the gains made from an empirical standpoint, schools can be given the green light to open up completely.

Out of abundance of caution it is recommended keep the general school population closed with the online model and to concentrate only on these 2 critical groups due to their pending examinations.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been few COVID-19 outbreaks in schools, from the studies conducted the transmission was primarily related to social events linked to schools rather than transmission within classrooms.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness through the use of scientific, evidence based and using the epidemiological analysis on our national situation will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Education as we transition through a phased, priority based plan to ensure safe educational environment to all of our students, staff and management of these institutions.


  1. Up to a month ago I had high respect for the CMO but now I am wondering. She comes across now more like a policy maker (politician) than as a medical office giving advice.

    • Going after the CMO, since when that’s your role. A truly confused citizen. PUN INTENDED!

      • Patriot No one is going after the CMO. Her professional competence as a doctor is not in question. The issue here is why is it that the Chief MEDICAL Office seem to be making pronouncements of matters of policy that should be for the Cabinet and PM.
        So you are the confused one because you don’t even know your role as a citizen in a democratic society. Now imagine you call yourself a patriot? A true patriot knows his or her role and calls out officials when he or she sees fit.

  2. Has the government lost their minds? Since when you allow the CMO to make policy decisions. Clearly she has forgotten her role and got totally carried away with the help of the government. Is she now the PM we need to know. As if she is so disappointed there’s no more cases of covid so she can be in the lime light I have lost my respect for her

    • Going after the CMO, since when that’s your role. A truly confused citizen. PUN INTENDED!

  3. Give her a job at NTN she loves TV . In that way we can get someone experienced to be CMO

    • Like National I had developed respect for the lady but now like you, I am sick and tired of the new role she seem to be playing. Somebody should remind her of her role.

      • Stop it, good thing you can hide here. The way you leaping around after almost every comment, even Dr. Belmar would send you for psychiatric treatment if she knew who you are.

      • Thompson… Psychiatric No! Angry and disappointed Hell yes!
        If we are to ever succeed as a nation we need to stop tearing each other down and start lifting each other up.
        Stop the unfounded and uncalled-for attacks on Dr. Belmar and stop trying to drag her into petty party politics.
        Stop it!

  4. For a long time now I saw this cmo woman as a fraud. She sounds more n more like Dr fauci n other tyrant health officials. Did she really mention two years? Like really. The n1h1 never shut down the economy much less schools now all of a sudden for a super flu that has a survival rate of 98percent now has all TV loving officials posing as health officials being decision makers. This is not our Constitution but a political game around the world. Herd immunity is the cure for any virus. Let the children ho back to school. Let people enjoy the out doors. She has people wearing a mask inhaling carbon dioxide which will make them sick. She encourages hands washing when now the CDC said u can’t catch this super flu on surfaces. Don’t get me wrong washing your hands is good hygiene but when u use all these hand wash lotions which is dangerous to the health u will get sick. Sanitizing all the bacteria around u will get u sick…Social distancing is tyranny n won’t slow the spread of nothing cause u can’t catch a virus. Research the word virus n u will c. We need to hug n socialize. From day one this woman annoyed me. Always sounding like the WHO n fake Fauci. She needs to work as a news anchor since she loves the lights so much. This woman is acting more n more like a politician every day.

    It’s our right to b free. I’m not saying if something dangerous is out there for us not to take heed but come on already. Not once she spoke of the dangers of wearing a mask. Very soon people will start to collapse in the streets with all this carbon dioxide breathing.

    Shame on u belmare. Asking children to stay home 2years. I a student going to school would b a no no for me after the two years. It just goes to show education is not essential.

      • I hope tuwa mosi and blite went to Med school for 6 years, and did post graduate studies for at least 4 years. If you did state your credentials. Otherwise, you should know what to do.

  5. I think she and her team have done an excellent job, and she is aptly qualified in her profession to express
    her findings and to give a qualified opinion as to the way forward. Personally, I wouldn’t trust anyone else
    coming on to express their view unless they can prove beyond any doubt, that they are equally qualified.

    • #The Fox why you always getting wrong. I understand – its your age. No one is commenting on her professional competence. Her professional competence as a doctor is not in question and the many people I speak with have never questioned that. The issue here is why is it that the Chief MEDICAL Office seem to be making pronouncements of matters of policy that should be for the Cabinet and PM. That’s the issue.
      By the way #The Foxy think your son is at the door to drop some supplies.

  6. tuwa somebody told me that but i never thought about that…i heard it again n really thought about it…we are breathing the carbon dioxide all the time with the mask…imagine u a whole day in town deh breathing carbon dioxide….i am surprised all the wonderful people all the news hosts who praise her they dont talk about that……

  7. She was just expresing her feeling ,who else in our goverment risks saying anything.We all know we cant close schoolls for two years.And we should all know what will come when we open our borders.

  8. By the way she holds the position of chief medical officer big position. Tell me if all the doctors here how does she stand out as exceptional from the rest. Has she ever practiced as a physician? What experience does she have? Now she dictates to our PM. We have to be the most idiotic people in the world

    • St. Lucia has had exceptional success in its response to COVID 19 thus far thanks to an exceptional human being called Dr. Sharon Belmar. We should be praising God instead of complaining.

      • St Lucia has done no better than our counterparts in the region. I suppose we all just happen to have Sharon Belmars. Wait till Tourist start coming in from the US, you’ll will see just how great our CMO is. Time will tell

      • Hey Grateful, so she is CMO of St. Vincent, Dominica, St. Kitts/Nevis and all the other Caribbean Islands that have had very exceptional success???????

    • Bob sounds like something RED in a barrel… An ungrateful one too.
      Leave Dr. Belmar out of your party politics. STOP IT!

      • Really? Thats the problem with some of us Lucians, we enjoy being taken for a ride. Stick with who and what you know, because you know nothing about the Politics and Policies of Sharon Belmar

      • Stop it, Bob is the one playing politics? Check out Dr Belmar’s background and tell me who is playing politics

      • STOP IT, let me give you work to do since you have nothing else to do but to comment after each person’s comment. Now comment on this: you STOP IT are an IDIOT. If you comment you prove you are the idiot I say you are and if you don’t comment you accept that you are an idiot. Now decide idiot.

  9. I don’t understand what politics has to do with any of this. Clearly the job is much more than Dr Belmar alone can handle. This has to be the collective efforts of all medical practitioners on the island many of whom a far more experienced than Dr Belmore. Now where I take issue with her, is because she has todate, failed to call on the expertise and advise of her colleagues. Dr Belmar, you cannot do this alone, this is a national issue. Ignore the ignorant advice of the clueless PM and look to your far more experienced colleagues for help. I do not want my country to drown. Please and Tanks

  10. Am I surprised? market steps 1 0 1, why at a time such as this we inject politics in actually every thing
    that comes up as news? it appears that we wake up breathe politics, eat politics, live, work and play politics
    go to bed and dream politics. I don’t know the young lady (or any of you guys) but that looks bad folks
    it looks like if anyone says boo on any subject – he/she is a uwp/slp; god help if that one is a woman.
    Stop it guys, leave women alone; when I look in the mirror, I thank my parents and my mother for a good job.

    • If at your old age you have look in the mirror to know your mother did a good job, well……

  11. If we are to ever succeed as a nation we need to stop tearing each other down and start lifting each other up.
    Stop the unfounded and uncalled-for attacks on Dr. Belmar and stop trying to drag her into petty party politics.
    Stop it!

  12. People I suggest that you’ll go back and read the SIs under the State of Emergency. Please read every thing in detail then you will understand the powers that have been vested in the CMO based on the SOE.

    People read read and don’t come across as stupid!

  13. What we know along, we do have a high rate of illiteracy in our island. CMO never said that schools should remain closed for two years. A rhetorical question was asked: In reality, is the option keeping school closed for 2 years since it is being predicted that that the virus may be with us for about 2 years. Please, my fellow citizens, let us get it right before we begin lambasting each other. We can do better.

  14. My beloved sons and daughters of St.Lucia, I bless you on this special and blessed day of the Lord.
    Let me tell you, that beyond the shores of this ‘Rock’ St.Lucia is spoken of (again) as a Clinically and safe
    destination and within a given and reasonable space of time – St. Lucia will be ‘The Greatest’ Island again.
    It is Prayers, Prayers and Prayers again. The devil cannot penetrate what the Lord has and is protecting
    through prayers. However, we want the Civil Administration to take care of the crime among the young ones.

  15. Dr. Belmar is doing a very good job. I will take advice from her on this pandemic issue before I take advice from the PM or his clueless cabinet. She is in the media a lot because this is what is required at this time. No, she is not the only medial professional working on this, but she is the CMO and you need a consistent person to deal with the public, can’t have all these different players informing the public. Good job Dr. Belmar and the other doctors and other health care professionals.

  16. Grateful just so u know God has nothing to do with that. U see when u bring your perception of a God in the same sentence with school doctrinated health officials,it makes no sense. God is a thought and not some actual being nailed on a cross as your pastor n priest tells u. U bunch of hypocrites in this comment section talking about this woman being wonderful n all that will soon regret their words. These are paid actors who can’t speak their truth but only what their script tell them. Wait till she tells Allen, all citizens needs bill gates vaccines to go back to normal. I guess u grateful will b the first in line taking it because God sent a cure. This woman is a fraud n she knows it. Why is she not talking about the dangers of mask wearing? All she talks about are the fake numbers of cases around the world, instilling fear in her own people, talking about washing hands n sanitizing like u live in a hospital when the same CDC now says u can’t catch anything on a surface. When u kill all the bacteria around u,don’t u know u will die faster? Ignorance is when u tell yourself all what doctorate holders say is true. U humans question nothing. U glue yourself to the main stream media n forget u have a brain. Some of u ignorant beings in this comment section asked,where are my degrees to say such about the cmo? Well,my degree is common sense n free thinking. Politics is not based on color it’s based on ignorance. A super flu with a survival rate of 98% has lead the world into an economy fallout. If I were to tell u grateful n all u Sky God lovers u are your own God, u would call me all sorts of names n that’s fine again ignorance maketh all church goers n sky god lovers.

    Front line workers took an oath so they must prove their worth to their system n they do also have a choice..To quit but they won’t cause the money n headlines is good for their image. Everything in this life that has a salary is just an illusion. All these draconian orders is against the Constitution but then again who wrote the Constitution? A man. I know my rights n no one will tell me to comply to their draconian orders. I’ve never social distanced nor do I wear a mask. I am a hygienic person so I don’t need belmare to tell me that. I hug n socialize. Unlike u Grateful…I am God so I thank myself n Creation for all its love n knowledge.

    Wake up people n stop being compliant sheep

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