Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, is hoping the Ross University School of Medicine returns to Dominica by May 2018 in order to recommence class.
Following the passage of Hurricane Maria in September, Ross announced in a press release that 1,400 students, faculty, and staff plan to relocate temporarily to Knoxville, Tenn. to continue their program of study.
Skerrit said at a press conference on Tuesday that a committee was appointed to study the Ross situation and to work with the school in its recommencement of classes
“Our hope is to get Ross to be back in May 2018,” he said. “And we are also helping the property owners, the Dominican citizens who own properties in Picard to rebuild. That is why we have extended the loan facility at the AID Bank to the property owners so that they could have their apartments fixed, they could be able to buy some new beds – those who need beds – appliances and so forth so that they can get that going in quick order.”
According to the Prime Minister, based on findings, about 80 percent of the homes Ross University needs for student accommodation is available right now.
“There are some property owners that were not impacted, those who were impacted moved very quickly to have their apartments fixed,” he stated. “Ross has water, Ross has electricity, the telecommunication services are in place, they can get internet and we are working to extend the DOMLEC coverage in the north so that going towards the other communities in Portsmouth and in the north that we have sufficient coverage in this.”
He remarked that the government is in constant contact with Ross University.
“It is our understanding from sources, that the majority of students would like to return to Dominica,” Skerrit said. “Dominica is the best place to study and Ross have had tremendous successes in Dominica.”
He said in his travels to the United States, parents of students who studied at Ross, said they are willing to send them back to the island.
“Even in my travels to the US after the hurricane, where there have been Dominican gatherings, parents of students have made their way to these events to meet with me, to indicate that look, once Ross is prepared to come back to Dominica, they will agree to send their children back to Dominica because their grades have always been good in Dominica,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Skerrit said he will be meeting with the President of All Saints University School of Medicine to discuss the recommencement of classes.
He said the school has indicated that once accommodation for students is available, it will return immediately.
“For them, accommodation is a huge challenge…” he stated.