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USVI Community Pulse

St. Croix District Schools Modify Timings Amidst Intense Heatwave



Amid the escalating heatwave impacting the St. Croix District, the Virgin Islands Department of Education has unveiled altered schedules for six specific schools. Beginning Monday, September 25, these modifications are designed to counteract the soaring temperatures, ensuring the comfort and safety of both students and school personnel.

A Heat Warning was declared for the U.S. Virgin Islands on September 18th, in light of the updated heat risk assessments. The persistent sweltering conditions, not conducive to effective learning, instigated this prompt action by the district.

Facility Evaluations Lead to Changes:

Authorities at the Department of Education in the St. Croix District undertook a detailed examination of school infrastructures. In doing so, they pinpointed six institutions where a significant portion, more than half of the premises, is devoid of operational air conditioning systems. Immediate interventions are underway for these identified schools.

Updated Timetable Details:

  • Juanita Gardine and Eulalie Rivera PreK-8 Schools: Classes are set to commence at 7:30 am, culminating at 12:30 pm. Each class session will span 45 minutes, with lunch timings adjusted to fit the revised schedule.
  • John H. Woodson Jr. High School: This institution will function between 8:00 am to 1:15 pm. The duration for each class is now condensed, from 55 minutes to 45.
  • St. Croix Central High School, St. Croix Educational Complex, and the Career & Educational Technical Center: While the commencement time remains at 7:40 am, the concluding hour is now shifted to 1:05 pm. Each class, previously 75 minutes, will now last for 65.

Transportation Details:

Bus services will remain accessible for students traveling to and from these educational establishments. Specifically, morning routes for Juanita Gardine, Eulalie Rivera PreK-8, and John H. Woodson Jr. High School may kick off at 6:45 am. Buses in the afternoon are synced with the school’s closing times, aligning with when parents can initiate student pickups.

A Transitional Strategy:

The Department of Education emphasizes that these adjustments are provisional, instituted to make the current educational milieu more conducive amidst the heatwave. Continuous monitoring of weather patterns and temperature metrics will guide any further decisions on reverting to typical school durations.

The department candidly recognizes that these shifts are not a permanent remedy. A proactive approach is underway to address the enduring infrastructural needs of the district’s schools. As they navigate this exigent phase, collaboration and patience from parents, students, faculty, and other staff members are earnestly solicited.

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USVI Community Pulse

New Parking Fee at Fort Christianvaern Starting Dec. 11



Beginning December 11, visitors to Fort Christiansvaern in Christiansted, St. Croix, will need to pay a $10 daily parking fee, as announced by the National Park Service (NPS). This new automated payment system, located at the parking lot’s entrance, will facilitate payments exclusively via debit and credit cards, as cash transactions will not be available.

The NPS has implemented this fee to generate additional revenue, aimed at enhancing the overall experience for visitors. The funds collected will be strategically invested in improving the park’s facilities and infrastructure, contributing to a more enjoyable and well-maintained environment for all guests.

Parking will be available from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. To ensure the safety and proper use of the parking lot, vehicles left after 5:00 p.m. may be towed at the owner’s expense, emphasizing the importance of adhering to the stipulated hours.

The NPS encourages the continued use of the parking lot at the Christiansted Historical site, highlighting its safety and convenience for both town and park visitors. They anticipate positive public cooperation with these changes.

For further inquiries or to address any concerns, individuals can contact Chief Ranger Gabriel Laurencin at [email protected] or call 340-773-1460 for assistance.

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USVI Community Pulse

St. Croix Prepares for Dazzling Christmas Boat Parade with Parking and Traffic Regulations



The picturesque island of St. Croix is abuzz with excitement as it gears up for the much-anticipated annual Christmas Boat Parade on Saturday, December 9. This festive highlight draws crowds to Christiansted’s scenic boardwalk, prompting the V.I. Police Department to enforce specific parking restrictions and road closures for a seamless event experience.

Key measures implemented by the VIPD in preparation for the parade, a cornerstone of St. Croix’s holiday celebrations, include:

  • A parking ban on Queen Cross Street, from Riddims to the Caravelle Casino, effective 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight). This measure is essential for vendor setup and smooth parade preparations.
  • King Street will also be subject to a no-parking policy from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight). This restriction encompasses the stretch from Florence Williams Library to Government House and includes the vicinity from Strand Lane (Purple Papaya) to King Street.

To ensure public safety and efficient traffic management, roadblocks will be in place at the intersection of King Street and King Cross Street (near the Library), commencing at 11:00 a.m. and lasting until midnight. Access during this time will be limited to vendors and officials associated with the Boat Parade Committee.

The Christmas Boat Parade is an iconic tradition in St. Croix, attracting thousands to the Christiansted boardwalk for a magical evening. The event is renowned for its display of intricately decorated boats, illuminating the night with festive lights, culminating in a stunning fireworks show.

The VIPD extends its gratitude to the community for cooperating with these traffic and parking arrangements, emphasizing their commitment to ensuring a safe, enjoyable holiday experience for all attendees.

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USVI Community Pulse

Ford Initiates Major Recall of Over 45,000 Vehicles Due to Door Latch Concerns



Ford Motor Company has begun issuing notices to owners of select models, specifically the 2015 Fiesta, 2016 Fusion, and the 2016 Lincoln MKZ, regarding a critical safety issue identified in these vehicles.

The company disclosed in mid-November the discovery of a defect in the door latches of certain vehicles. The defect involves a latch component that may break, potentially making the door difficult to secure or, in some cases, allowing it to open unexpectedly during travel.

Notably, some of these vehicles are known to have been sold and registered in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In response, Ford dealerships are conducting thorough inspections of the door latches on affected vehicles, with a directive to replace all four side door latches at no cost to the vehicle owner if they find any issues.

Vehicle owners who prefer immediate action rather than waiting for postal notifications can access further information by reaching out to Ford’s customer service at 1-866-436-7332 or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

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