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In-Class Lessons Back By Year End? Lloyd Signals Pupils May Soon Be Allowed To Head Back Into The Classroom

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

FACE-to-face learning could resume in all schools across the country before year’s end, according to Education Minister Jeff Lloyd.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, the minister said health officials have indicated it is possible schools could safely reopen with in-person instructions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The development came as Mr Lloyd raised concerns over the fact that 30 percent of registered students are not regularly participating in virtual classes.

“The children want to be in school and we’re working now with the Ministry of Health in trying to find the way that we can safely – because safety is first – bring our children back to school as quickly as possible, observing all of the protocols whether it’s physical distancing, wearing masks and so on. We believe that that is something that is imminent,” Mr Lloyd told reporters at the Ministry of Education yesterday.

“We are meeting with the Ministry of Health officials. They’ve already indicated to us that it is possible.”

The minister said once those meetings have been completed, recommendations will subsequently be presented to the Competent Authority at which point a decision will be made.

The move, if approved, would be a welcome reprieve for many parents who have long voiced their frustrations with the virtual learning platform.

However, in order to safely resume face-to-face instruction, Mr Lloyd said officials have to work out all the logistics in keeping with the social distancing guidelines and other health protocols.

“We just need to work out the details as to how it will be done and we need to secure for ourselves, meaning the schools system – how many schools, what capability they have and what number of students they can accommodate at a particular time,” he continued.

In public schools where there is a large student enrolment, the minister suggested such institutions may have to adopt the hybrid model as previously announced which involves a mix of face-to-face and virtual classes.

“The bigger schools – and you know them – Sadie Curtis, the primary school, Doris Johnson and Anatol and CV Bethel, obviously they can’t accommodate all the students at one time so we will have to move to what may be the hybrid system as we discussed before. But we need to get our students as quickly as possible for the sake of all – students, parents, teachers and so – on back in school face-to-face learning.”

In March, the government mandated the closure of schools after the country recorded its first COVID-19 case.

The move resulted in many local institutions shifting to online classes, allowing for students to continue their studies at home for the remainder of the academic school year.

In a bid to safely reopen schools amid the pandemic, the minister announced in August that public schools will resume operations on September 21, featuring three instructional models: face-to-face, hybrid learning and online learning.

However, in response to rising COVID cases in the country, the re-opening date was pushed to October 5, with virtual learning set for the islands of New Providence, Abaco, and Eleuthera – where that method in still practised today.

Schools in Exuma have since been added to the list for virtual learning only due to a recent increase of COVID cases on the island.

Yesterday, the minister said officials estimate that some 30 percent of students registered are not regularly participating in the virtual learning platform, a situation he referred to as “concerning.”

He said: “Our estimation is that 70 percent are already in school on regular daily. That 30 percent bothers us and as (the director) indicated, it’s our responsibility to find the opportunity. No question about that but at the same time, the children have a responsibility. This is their education and the parents have a responsibility. This is their children’s education, so we all have to adopt a responsible attitude and mindset about education.”

Asked if the public could expect to see students physically returning back to school by early next year, Mr Lloyd said he could not give a definitive timeline.

He said: “No, no we’re talking imminent. I can’t put a day or a time on it, but it is that close. We’re now in discussions with the Ministry of Health, those will continue and we will make our recommendations to the Competent Authority and the decision will be made.”

However, Mr Lloyd was further pressed on the issue and asked about the possibility of in person learning before the end of 2020. To which he then replied, “ absolutely.”

Comments

bahamianson 5 months ago

i think this up and down is undo stress on the students, teachers, and parents. Opening and closing is like a child caught in the middle of a divorce whom has go to one house for 4 days and the other for 3 days out of the week. Just leave the schools closed until May. The student gets accustomed to a routine , then you take him /her out of it ....leave it alone.

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anonymous555788 5 months ago

I know they are trying their best but please open schools. Not everyone can learn off of a screen. We can start off by letting kids be face to face twice out of the five days. We got to start someone, we don’t even have the vaccine for the common cold, you think anybody can find a vaccine for COVID 19 no, it will take years. As I said earlier, we got to start atleast twice out of the five days. Kids just took their bjc and bgcse I thought that was gonna be a test to see if kids were capable of going back and as far as I know no kids or teachers who was present caught the virus. Come on we have to start someone please.

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Dawes 5 months ago

They need to open up, if both parents are lucky enough to work they will need the children to go back to school. If its unsafe for school children (who are the least at risk) then it is unsafe for all of us.

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stillwaters 5 months ago

Don't bow to the pressure of parents who just want these children out of their homes and off their nerves.

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tribanon 5 months ago

We can only assume you were home schooled which would really explain a lot. LOL

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sheeprunner12 5 months ago

The reality is that .......... probably only 30% of public school children are engaged on the online classes and 70% are MIA ............... The politicians are just trying to cover their asses

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dwanderer 5 months ago

School is about to close in four to five weeks for the normal Christmas Break. Wouldn't it make more sense to wait until the reopening of school in the New Year to possibly consider face-to-face instruction in New Providence?

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tribanon 5 months ago

.....Mr Lloyd raised concerns over the fact that 30 percent of registered students are not regularly participating in virtual classes....

Someone please tell Lloyd that a child who logs in a couple of days a week should not be considered as regularly participating. And then what about all those children whose parent(s) cannot afford to pay an internet service provider for internet access?!

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tribanon 5 months ago

Children are in the lowest risk group for being infected with and suffering ill effects from COVID-19. And they are also low risk transmitters of COVID-19 if they are asymptomatic. Accordingly they should all be in school on a full-time basis and require no periodic testing for COVID-19 infection.

Only the very few students who may exhibit more serious flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, chills, etc.) from COVID-19 should be exempt from attending school until the symptoms no longer exist. The parent(s) of such a child in consultation with a health official and/or school administrator should determine whether the child is sufficiently ill to need testing and medical treatment for COVID-19. Even if a student is found to be infected with COVID-19 there is no need for the school to be closed or for any contact tracing and/or monitoring of other students at the school.

No student should be required to wear a mask while in school. Doing so is unnecessary and frankly increases the risk of transmission through either mishandling of the mask while wearing it or possibly uncleanliness of the mask through repeated use without proper cleaning.

Family members of students who fall into any of the higher risk groups for serious illness from COVID-19 should be taking their own sensible precautionary measures at home to avoid becoming infected by school age children.

School administrators and teachers under the age of 60 who have no serious pre-existing medical conditions should be back to work at their schools on a full-time basis. All other school administrators and teachers in higher risk groups should be given duties that involve minimal contact with students, at least until a vaccine is readily available sometime next year, or be offered early retirement if they indicate an unwillingness to return to work.

STOP THE DILLY DALLYING AND GET ALL STUDENTS BACK TO SCHOOL. THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY HIGHLY REGARDED STUDIES THAT HAVE CONCLUDED VIRTUAL LEARNING IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION LED BY A QUALIFIED TEACHER.

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SP 5 months ago

Mr. Lloyd allowed Trump to set the directive for kids going back to school beyond common sense that dictates they will spread the virus to parents at lightning speed.

It's no big deal if kids finish school 1 year late due to the pandemic. The country could not absorb them into the labor force before Covid and with the layoffs, there is absolutely no chance of these kids finding jobs anyway. So what's the rush??

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tribanon 5 months ago

A mind is a terrible thing to waste and yours has obviously been wasted.

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SP 5 months ago

Brown nosing is an idiotic favorite pastime for jackasses with short memories.

Mr. Lloyd closed schools in mid-March at the very first confirmation of Covid spreading in the community to prevent children from contracting and spreading the virus to families.

Now with the virus out of control, you think Trump's idea of opening schools is a brilliant idea?? Look at the virus mess Trump's policies have created!

You are obviously incapable of independent thought! Carry on smartly.

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avidreader 5 months ago

Tantos insultos! Such ad hominen attacks are unnecssary. No one has the ability to stop the spread of what appears to be an unstoppable virus with somewhat mysterious origins. Gradually it will fade away leaving behind a tremendous amount of damage. We have to be alert to economic uncertainty and pressures resulting in military adventurism.

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tribanon 5 months ago

Agree. Trump like Bill Clinton is a lover and not a fighter. The very senile Biden on the other hand has the entire military industrial complex as his main puppeteer. And to think they would have full control of the high tech giants and virtually every media outlet. It seems the stars are already being re-aligned for some truly scary things to begin on the military front. If a Biden led US government renews the Obama Iran Nuclear Deal so that Iran is eventually allowed to develop nuclear weapons, then it's game over for sure.

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SP 5 months ago

As Mr. Lloyd stupidly announces returning schools to in-person class's, school systems around the U.S. and abroad are taking tough action to close schools due to spread of the virus.

Boston, Detroit, Indianapolis and Philadelphia are among those that are closing classrooms or abandoning plans to offer in-person classes later in the school year, and New York City may be next.

Meanwhile in the Bahamas, ass-backwards as usual, Lloyd is defying common sense rushing down the road to failure!

Stupid does as stupid is!

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sheeprunner12 5 months ago

Is The Bahamas in the same "Covid19 situation" as the major US urban areas you named????? ............. I don't think so ........ so who's stupid???

We seem not to be able to think independently in the 242 ......... SAD

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