USVIHTA Update | January 2021
Eco-Schools Disaster Risk Reduction Management Program Fosters Community Resilience
When Gov. Bryan’s order to close the schools in response to COVID-19 took sudden effect mid-March 2020, not only did all USVI schools core curriculum and sports/after-school activities grind to a halt, but an Eco-Schools environmental program with seven participating high schools across the three islands went into immediate hiatus. With only six weeks to the completion of a project-based environmental education FEMA funded program, the disappointment for students and teachers was palpable. The Disaster Risk Reduction Management Program (DRRMP), borne out of a response to the 2017 hurricanes, with a focus on USVI students learning about climate change, flood mitigation and mapping, while designing a school resiliency action plan and specific campus resilience design, was created to encourage students to become active stakeholders and problem-solvers in addressing the resiliency and sustainability of their individual schools. Read more.
IEKHS Students Take a Virtual Tour to a Coral Reef
Teaching in the time of coronavirus has been very challenging to say the least, but that has not stopped Michealrose Ravalier, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School (IEKHS) teacher, from finding creative ways to engage her students. Ravalier knows that learning is more meaningful if students can relate and interact with their environment. She wondered, “How can I adapt a lab about fruit fly behavior so that it would be more culturally relevant for my students? Our real world is right here in our own backyard, in this case, in our coral reefs.” Last year, Ravalier led students on field trips to Coral World to study corals, marine ecosystems and human impacts on our oceans. That experience led her back to Coral World.

Valerie Peters, Marketing Director of Coral World, quickly agreed to the use of the park as the location for a virtual lab. Peters, who is passionate about bringing the private and public sector together for the benefit of environmental education and has brought ECO Schools to the USVI, was thrilled at the prospect of working on this project. Peters observed, “These types of collaborative efforts are key to engaging students in meaningful project-based learning and to encourage them to be part of finding the solutions to the many sustainability challenges. Read more.
Gov. Bryan Issues Statement On COVID-19 Relief Bill
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said he welcomes the federal funding coming to the U.S. Virgin Islands from Congress’ $900 billion COVID-19 relief measure that President Trump signed into law on Sunday, and he said the much-needed federal assistance will bring some level of support to Virgin Islanders and local businesses as the pandemic continues.  
The governor said that the process of distributing the stimulus checks authorized under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 will go much more quickly because the vast majority of data and information needed to process and mail the checks was completed during the first round of payments and the Bureau of Internal Revenue already has begun the distribution process. Read more.

Other local and regional news:
CHTA Update: Tourism Recovery Forum Data, Insights, Recommendation
Paving the Path to Recovery: Insights for Hotel & Tourism Associations, Governments, DMOs, Hotels and Tourism-Reliant Companies, Multi-Lateral Organizations. In case you missed it, the Economic Forum ‘Tourism: Key to the Caribbean’s Economic Recovery’ was packed with valuable data, insights, guidance, recommendations and best practices all aimed at helping local and regional stakeholders to steer a course to recovery. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to mine the data and thinking from global and regional leaders from the:
  • World Travel and Tourism Council
  • UN World Tourism Organization
  • Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Center
  • Caribbean Development Bank
  • Caribbean Tourism Organization
  • Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association

Bryan Williams Webinar: Be a Mountain Climber: 10 Tips to Overcome Any Barrier (V.I. Edition)
Bryan Williams is holding a webinar for the Virgin Islands community on Jan. 13 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. 2020 brought many challenges; however, the purpose of this webinar is to help launch you into 2021 with renewed vigor and determination. Click here to register.
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Lisa Hamilton 
USVIHTA President