Dr. Ralph Crum, left, Dean of the Medical University of the Americas with Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis, during a recent handing-over ceremony of 100,000 face masks donated by the university to the Ministry of Health in the Nevis Island Administration.

CHARLESTOWN NEVIS –- Dr. Ralph Crum, Dean of the Medical University of the Americas (MUA) says more than 300 students are anxious for the borders of St. Kitts and Nevis to reopen to attend university on Nevis.

Dr. Crum said prior to the onset of COVID-19 in St. Kitts and Nevis in March, the MUA had approximately 230 to 250 students living in Nevis. Due to the pandemic, the students, primarily from the United States and Canada, had returned to their respective countries.

“This fall we have increased our student numbers by 90, so we now have over 300 students,” said Dr. Crum. “We’re looking at trying to recover over 300 students to bring them back to the island of Nevis.

“They are all eagerly waiting for the borders to reopen and the resumption of commercial flights,” he said. “We are all working on how to deal with quarantine security, feeding, and housing issues with them.”

With respect to quarantine sites for the MUA students, the dean relayed that several hotel properties near the university are being considered to house the students in batches. He said individualized apartment complexes can also bid for the opportunity to house the students for the quarantine period.

“Ultimately, we know that as the Statutory Rules & Orders evolve, schools have reopened,” said Dr. Crum. “We are included in the school category, so this is a threshold event for us. Now, we can have a conversation about opening, start to plan, and come up with a strategy.

“We look at them coming back in batches or groups, obviously not all at once because it would be overwhelming,” he said. “If we can bring them in even in batches of 50, as long as we are able to get the housing and security issues sorted, within two months you would have 200. So it will happen very quickly once it starts.”

Hon. Mark Brantley, Premier of Nevis said the return of MUA students is critical for the continued effort at reopening the Nevis economy.

“These students are an important part of the Nevisian community and contribute significantly to the socio-economic activity of Nevis,” said the minister. “We look forward to welcoming them back home soon.”