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Governor Tours Classrooms On 3 Islands On First Day Of In-Person Classes

CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan toured public school classrooms on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John on the first day of in-person classes Tuesday.

Bryan inspected the Ricardo Richards Elementary School on St. Croix, the Julius E. Sprauve K-8 School on St. John and the Joseph Gomez Elementary School on St. Thomas.

Government House said the “Virgin Islands Department of Education (did) everything that could be expected to make the schools safe for students’ return to the classrooms.”

Governor Bryan and St. Thomas-Water Island Administrator Avery Lewis visit students at Joseph Gomez Elementary School on St. Thomas on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

“Today, as a territory, we are taking a bold but cautious step toward where we know our students need to be,” Government House spokesman Richard Motta said. “We need our students back in the classroom, and it is Governor Bryan’s goal to get them safely back in the classroom setting.”

Upon seeing the protective gear installed around desks for students in pre-K through 2nd grade classrooms around the territory, one Virgin Islands Free Press reader made this comment.

“Why don’t they have these for the high schools?” Dora Magras-Cerge said from St. Thomas.

Vaccination Lottery winners

The winners for the August 27 drawings for $100,000 in the Vax-to-Win Lottery are:

  • Dianne Carroll on St. Croix
  • Wubnesh Nelson in the St. Thomas-St. John District

The $50,000 surplus left over from the August 6 drawing also was used for a supplemental drawing of $10,000 each to winners on St. Croix, two winners on St. Thomas and one winner on St. John.

Those winners are:

  • Marcus Davis and Aida Rios on St. Croix
  • Tafron Testamark and Rosa Da Cruz on St. Thomas
  • Donna Smith on St. John

Vaccinations and Testing

Anyone 12 and older is eligible to receive the vaccine. Please make sure to have a parent or guardian accompany any minor wishing to get vaccinated and must bring an ID for both the minor and the parent or guardian. 

Anyone who thinks they may have contracted COVID-19 can call the Epidemiology hotline at 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519. For more information, visit

For information about the COVID-19 vaccines or to schedule an appointment to get vaccinated, call the VITEMA hotline Mondays-Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 340-777-VACS (8227). Vaccination appointments also can be scheduled online at

Residents can pre-register for testing online at and free vaccines are available at the pop-up testing sites.

Pop-Up Testing

1-4 p.m. Wednesday, September 8, at the Virgin Islands Port Authority Gravel Lot on St. John

Income Tax Refunds

This week the government said it is mailing out more income tax refunds, sending out 3,753 checks to residents totaling $10.1 million. This distribution follows last week’s mail-out of $10 million in income tax refunds and covers income tax filers’ 2019 returns.

Child Tax Credit

Last week the Administration mailed out about 8,500 checks to Virgin Islanders who were eligible to receive the tax benefit.

“We learned recently, unfortunately, that some issues confronting the U.S. Postal Service may be causing delays with that payment getting to you,” Motta said. “Governor Bryan has been in contact with both the Delegate to Congress and the Postal Services in hopes of bringing a timely resolution to this issue on behalf of Virgin islands residents.”

COVID-19 cases

•     3.05% seven-day positivity rate

•     Currently tracking 193 active cases (120 STX; 68 STT; 5 STJ).

•     62 deaths.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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