Prime Minister Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell has welcomed the planned return of St George’s University (SGU) students for the upcoming semester.
The True-Blue based university has announced that it will welcome back all students in the School of Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Graduate Studies for in-person learning on campus, for the August 2021 term.
Dr Mitchell, who held the post of Finance Minister for several years, said SGU’s return will be a significant boost for the local economy. He said, “SGU accounts for a major part of the country’s GDP. The return of students and the resumption of full-scale on-campus operations will therefore significantly boost economic activity in the country. The university’s existence has also created a need for many ancillary services, so its return to operation will similarly spur activity in the services sector.”
The repatriation of SGU students last year at the start of the pandemic, significantly impacted the accommodation sector, the farming community and supermarket operations among other areas.
The Prime Minister said the return of students will bring welcomed relief to affected persons. “I have personally heard the complaints from property owners, business operators, farmers and many others who felt the brunt of the impact from the departure of students. Quite understandably, for some, their entire livelihood depended on the services they provided to the SGU community and therefore the financial impact was significant. It will certainly be a relief to them to have the students return,” he said.
The Prime Minister also noted that the fallout from SGU’s move to online learning last year, could have been far greater and he commended the university for maintaining the payment of full salaries to staff, throughout the period.
Dr Mitchell also noted the importance of vaccination as part of the university’s return strategy and the wider effort to keep the population of Grenada safe. SGU indicated in its announcement, that as part of its plan for a safe return to campus life, “Covid-19 vaccinations will be required for all students, faculty, staff, administrators, vendors and visitors on campus”. The university also noted that many other similar institutions around the world are also requiring vaccination as part of their respective return strategies.