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Five schools found to have COVID cases

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

BAHAMAS Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson yesterday expressed concern with the number of suspected COVID-19 cases being recorded in public schools across New Providence, claiming that most of the cases are students, some “as young as five-years-old”.

The union president raised alarm about the issue in a voice note sent to the media yesterday, where she revealed that several schools in the capital have been plagued with COVID-19 infections. Mrs Wilson initially identified six schools with COVID cases, however the Ministry of Education later clarified that one school listed — TG Glover Primary School — does not have a confirmed case. 

This comes after the Ministry of Education issued a notice on social media yesterday, advising parents of the closure of the CR Walker High School, Carlton Francis Primary School and CV Bethel High School at noon.

Yesterday, Education Minister Jeff Lloyd told reporters that some schools had recently been exposed to COVID. 

“I am advised this morning that there were three cases over the last four or five days at individual schools. I am getting the report on those and as soon as I do, I will share with you,” he said.

However, according to Mrs Wilson, the latest facilities to be hit from the respiratory virus are L W Young Junior High School, C R Walker Senior High School, H O Nash Jr High School, Garvin Tynes Primary High School and Carlton Francis Primary School.

The BUT head also claimed that most of the positive cases at the respective institutions were students, with some as young as five-years-old testing positive for the virus. She also urged teachers to protect themselves, noting that their safety “comes first.”

“As COVID cases continue to rise in the country and specifically, New Providence, the Bahamas Union of Teachers note that there are positive cases at the following schools: L W Young Junior High, C R Walker Senior High, H O Nash Jr High, Garvin Tynes Primary, T G Glover Primary and Carlton Francis Primary. We note that the majority of the cases are students as young as five-years-old.”

In the case of T G Glover, the Ministry of Education said there was not a confirmed case there, explaining that “last week we had miscommunication, however after consultation with the relevant persons, the student was not confirmed as a positive case.”

Yesterday, Mrs Wilson also raised concern over the fact that education officials are allegedly not being “forthcoming” with the information about the suspected or confirmed COVID cases.

She said teachers deserve to be informed in a timely manner and need be assured that all of the proper health protocols are being followed in such events.

“What is concerning for us, though, is that some principals and the Ministry of Education officials are not forthcoming about the information about the cases and/or they are delayed in informing the teachers, parents and the union of suspected cases or confirmed cases,” she said in a statement.

“The BUT demands that the teachers be informed in a timely manner and that the COVID-19 team address teachers and staff members, that contact tracing be done and testing of teachers who are contacts of persons who would’ve tested positive and that quarantine time be given and that the schools be cleaned, disinfected and sanitised.

“The alleged withholding of information by the Ministry of Education officials is unacceptable. This is a matter of urgency and health and the Ministry of Education is obligated to follow the protocols and inform the various stakeholders,” Mrs Wilson added.

For his part, Mr Lloyd insisted that each school have a COVID-19 response plan in place should a case be identified there.

“They have protocols in place that if you are tested positive that there is a response that must happen,” the education minister stressed. “First of all, obviously you must be quarantined and there must be a cleansing of the environment and all persons with whom you have come into contact must themselves be quarantined. This is the feature of contact tracing.”

Schools across the country closed last March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but were later reopened after the summer break last October.

However, schools in New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma were teaching virtually until given the go ahead to begin phased face-to-face learning in February.

Comments

SP 1 year, 5 months ago

So they put 1000's of children together and COVID miraculously exploded again across the country.

Who could have ever guessed that would have happened??

I repeatedly warned here reopening schools was a sure recipe for disaster! I told them to simply cancel school until after the Covid pandemic. I got a lot of flack here from jackass's unable to comprehend the proven fact that children were the perfect carriers of Covid, and opening schools would unquestionably lead to another wave.

Today we now find ourselves exactly where I said we'd be with another wave with the added bonus of making the U.S. no visit list of out of control Covid-19 countries!

The economy will be negatively affected AGAIN because the minister of education is too pigheaded to listen to reason and lacks the sense he was born with.

Government will never admit to yet another blatantly stupid, predictable blunder, but it's all obviously right in front of us.

Let's see what the smartass, dumb, geniuses do now. Jackass does as jackass is!

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ohdrap4 1 year, 5 months ago

They did it because they could not keep up with the required it resources.

Teachers are pig headed too so productivity went down.

Kids were roaming the street for lack of resources.

Exams wil still go on for the half a dozen richer kids.

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tetelestai 1 year, 5 months ago

This has nothing to do with the teachers, stop it.

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tribanon 1 year, 5 months ago

Schools in Florida were only closed for 2 1/2 months in 2020. And there have been very few if any student or teacher deaths in Florida attributable to the Communist China Virus.

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JokeyJack 1 year, 5 months ago

Man why yall always finding Covid cases? Ya can't find no cases of Heineken or Kalik? I mean, even a case of grape soda we could be grateful. Muddo.

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WETHEPEOPLE 1 year, 5 months ago

Dear world its time to move on from the fear and politics surrounding covid. I dont understand why vaccinated people still have to wear masks. Everytime i see Biden and Harris wearing a mask, i chuckle to myself. Im sorry i just find it funny. Either my sense of reasoning has stopped working, or someones trying to make me out to be a donkey. I dont know what to think, because everyone seems like a magician. Can someone tell me when will any of this make sense

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SP 1 year, 5 months ago

@ Tribanon.....Lol....Surly, you're not seriously comparing Florida and the Bahamas educational systems! Please don't go there.

There are many reasons schools here cannot be compared to those in Florida. Let's look at one simple aspect of students attending school here that makes having schools open a nonstarter during a pandemic.........LUNCH BREAK!

Florida's schools have cafeterias where children line up to be served in an orderly, civilized fashion and social distancing is easily accomplished.

Lunch break in the Bahamas is absolute, total, pandaemonium! The kids are pushing, shoving and crammed together like crabs in a pen fighting to be served. Social distancing is IMPOSSIBLE. THE Perfect scenario for spreading Covid.

Secondly, if the country didn't have sufficient IT capability for home schooling, simply don't do it. Bullshyting us didn't work and was doomed to fail.......As it did!

We need to stop the bullshyt, we are not America. Just do what we can, with what we have, as best as we can. SIMPLE!!

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tribanon 1 year, 5 months ago

My point was that the Communist China Virus should not in and of itself be used as a convenient excuse for shutting down our schools. But the dismal overall state and condition of our school system that you describe, not to mention the many sub-standard educators and administrators within it, all seem to be good reasons for permanently shutting down our schools, especially if they no longer even serve to teach the most basic reading, writing and arithmetic to our country's children.

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