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No recommendation to shut down more schools

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DR PHILLIP SWANN

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Ministry of Health and Wellness does not recommend the closure of schools in New Providence at this time, despite having confirmed more than three dozen COVID-19 cases among staff and students over the last several weeks.

Dr Phillip Swann, the ministry’s registrar, told reporters that officials did not recommend the move because they felt the situation was still under control.

Since Monday, several private and public schools, including St Anne’s, St Augustine’s College and Queen’s College, have suspended face-to-face learning after reporting several positive virus cases on the campus.

 Stephen Dillet School also suspended face-to-face learning due to an increase in cases at the school.

 The situation has prompted concern that schools in the capital are once again experiencing a surge in COVID-19 infections and may need to return to fully virtual learning.

 However, during a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday, health officials said while there have been a number of infections confirmed in several schools recently, the cases do not reflect a community outbreak and as such, does not warrant campus closures.

 “As of 10th May, 2022 38 positive cases were reported over a four-week period via molecular testing (or RT-PCR),” the ministry said in a statement read during yesterday’s press briefing.

 “These cases were dispersed over a number of schools and represent a small proportion of the overall COVID-19 caseloads. The Ministry also confirms that no clusters have been reported within schools in the Family Islands. While these numbers do not reflect an outbreak in our community the Ministry of Health & Wellness maintains that it is imperative that individuals continue to strictly adhere to the standard health safety protocols of hand sanitisation, the appropriate wearing of masks – especially in closed quarters, and to isolate or quarantine as appropriate if suspected of or testing positive for COVID-19 infections.

 “The Ministry wishes to further advise that contact tracing is an integral part of investigating cases and their possible linkages to others, which allows for the activation of isolation or quarantine measures … That being said, the Ministry of Health & Wellness has not recommended the closure of any schools during the past several weeks.”

 Asked about the decision to keep schools open, Dr Swann said: “The number of cases that we have reported from schools are not to the threshold where we feel the schools need to be shut down in order to control anything because there’s no outbreak in schools.”

 In an audio message sent to The Tribune Wednesday, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson had raised concern about the presence of COVID-19 on school campuses.

 She also revealed that BUT planned to meet with Ministry of Health and Wellness officials today on the issue.

 “We’re always concerned about the health and safety of our teachers and by extension our students. So, we see the COVID numbers are rising and we’ve had a few cases at various schools, so we’re also closely monitoring those schools,” she said.

 “So, we would’ve had Garvin Tynes, Stephen Dillet, we now have SC McPherson and a few other schools that have COVID concerns. So, we are monitoring them closely, our union executives, in particular our area vice president…he’s been moving around to the schools checking on these matters, but we are always concerned because for us it’s safety first,” Mrs Wilson said.

Comments

bahamianson 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Need to stop advertising covid cases. It doesn't stop the show in America, why should it stop the show here. Go get vaccinated.

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ohdrap4 1 month, 2 weeks ago

oh oh, the school administrators vacation has just been cut short.

The tallyman said the bananas are short.

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JokeyJack 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Belinda, you're monitoring "cases" closely? Glad you've got nothing imporrant to do. Us regular folk have got work to do and bills to pay. Plus we got to pay babysitters to watch our kids while yall at the beach.

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sheeprunner12 1 month, 2 weeks ago

There are THREE unions representing educators. So interview the other two to get a balanced view of what is going on in the schools

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tribanon 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Someone needs to hold Swann down and give him a few jabs. LOL

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