This morning, Tuesday, September 7th, the Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP, met with the Education Emergency Measures Committee (EEMC) to discuss back-to-school provisions in light of the country’s current coronavirus status.
Minister Rabain said, “The EEMC met to discuss the safest way forward for staff and students for the beginning of the academic year 2021-2022 given the number of positive coronavirus cases, including an increase in the number of positive cases for children.
“The Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (ESU) has advised that there are a number of staff and students who have tested positive for the coronavirus; or who are close contacts of others who have tested positive. Due to several schools being impacted by these exposures and the requirements to quarantine, staffing levels have been reduced in many of our schools.
The Department of Education reported that our schools had a total of 119 staff absences effective today which translated to 31 schools being impacted with staff absences. The majority of the staff absences are due to staff having to quarantine as a result of coronavirus developments, while others are absent due to medical or sick leave.The number of absences are projected to increase in the days to come.
“In light of this and the uncertainty posed by the possibility of Tropical Storm Force winds on Thursday, a decision has been made to open all public schools on September 9th with remote learning. It is imperative that learning is not interrupted for our students and thus, we move forward with remote learning aligned with the originally scheduled resumption of school. School leaders will provide parents and guardians with details of the remote learning programme.
Minister Rabain added, “The safety and health of our staff and students is paramount and this decision is necessary to protect their best interests, along with Bermuda as a whole.
“To prepare for a safe return to in-person learning, we are strongly encouraging all staff and students to get tested between September 9th and 12th. Testing sites will be arranged, and further information will be announced as soon as possible.
“With discussions still underway, another press release will be issued in due course to advise of school openings the week of September 13th.
Minister Rabain concluded, “Each of us has a role to play in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. Follow Public Health guidelines, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance and download the WeHealth Bermuda app. Do the research, talk with your doctor, and make an informed decision about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The representatives of the EEMC (Education Emergency Measures Committee) include the Ministry of Education, the Department of Education, the Bermuda Union of Teachers, the Bermuda Public Services Union, the Bermuda Industrial Union, the Department of Health, the Department of Communications, a Private School Representative and Members of the Legislature.
Information and public health guidelines are available at www.moed.bm/District/Portal/covid-19-information and https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus-schools
Any questions concerning COVID‐19 should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
All public health guidelines are listed at https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus
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