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Teachers: Use wisdom over shutting schools

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Union of Teachers is “closely monitoring” the spread of COVID-19 in public schools, its president Belinda Wilson urging the Ministry of Education to “utilise wisdom” as examinations get underway.

According to Mrs Wilson yesterday, the union has noted an increase in positive virus cases on school campuses or cases involving teachers, students and support staff at various schools in both New Providence and a few Family Islands.

 She claimed that there were hundreds of students who were either in or remain in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.

 Her concerns were outlined in a voice note disseminated to the media.

 “Schools such as C R Walker, T G Glover, C C Sweeting Senior, Garvin Tynes Primary School, Stephen Dillet, C V Bethel, Arthur’s Town Comprehensive, S C McPherson, Laura Anderson in North Eleuthera, North Eleuthera High, Doris Johnson, Gambier Primary, Gerald Cash, Eva Hilton, all have seen one or more positive cases,” the BUT president said yesterday.

 “Again the BUT is urging our members to continue to use physical distancing and adhere to all of the health and safety protocols that have been laid out by the Ministry of Health (and Wellness).

 “We are closely monitoring the situation because there are hundreds of students who were or are still in quarantine. Some schools had to close an entire unit or had to send into quarantine various grade levels or a full class of students.”

 She continued: “So, as I said earlier, we are monitoring this very closely. However, we want to urge the Ministry of Education to utilise wisdom as the examination dates are upon us. External examinations have begun and internal examinations should start very shortly.

 “So, again we are monitoring the situation and we will advise our members to ensure that safety is first. We care about the students getting their education and sitting their examinations, but we must also ensure that safety comes first.”

 The Tribune tried to contact Education Director Marcellus Taylor but did not receive a response up to press time.

 Earlier this week, Education Minister Glenys Hanna Martin said officials were discussing how best to accommodate students who are in quarantine.

 She said: “Certainly, we would want all of our children to be able to take examinations. If they contract it, it’s not a fault-based situation. So, we’re discussing now how we would deal with situations like that, but, of course, the undergirding rationale would be to do all that we can to ensure that our young people can take their examinations.”

 This comes as several schools reverted to online learning after reporting virus cases on campus last week.

 They included St Augustine’s College and St Anne’s School which in letters last week said they were reverting to virtual learning. It was also confirmed that Queen’s College went back to virtual learning because of COVID-19 on campus.

 Stephen Dillet School in the days before suspended face-to-face learning due to an increase in cases.

 During a press conference last week, health officials confirmed more than three dozen COVID-19 cases among staff and students at schools in New Providence over the last several weeks.

 However, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has said the cases did not reflect a community outbreak and as such, did not warrant campus closures.

 Mrs Wilson last week said there could be more schools with positive cases.

Comments

ted4bz 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Ok, so we are back to lock-stepping the covid illusion. Sure, the distracted, confused and ignominious public is going to fall right back into this again. Again, there is absolutely no verifiable corroborated data to any of this and there are certainly no benefits to the government loving and obedient public complying except to those directing and forcing this illusionary game.

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ohdrap4 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Belinda would serve teachers better if she were to lobby for a revised workload structure for teachers to include time allowance for the preparation of online lessons.

As it is they have to teach the same number of periods while creating online content which is at least twice as time consuming as brick and mortar lesson plans.

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@coakley4mical 2 months, 4 weeks ago

@Ohdrap4, maybe she might best serve the teachers if she stepped down and let someone more competent take over. This is the example you get what you voted for. Education has been like this and we blame the Ministry and the different switch in Government PLP- FNM-PLP-FNM-FNM for the state of education what about lets start looking at some of the accessory source with their "cult sauces" Elect competency over popularity and its one less hole we as a nation would be in. These people didn't just one day wake up and became an elected leader in the teachers union, they were groomed from the initiation.

So the BUT needs new blood with a new direction that will help and assist their peers to think critically and progressively to help overcome the problems with overwhelming solutions.

This issue involves: The MOE, The BUT, The School Staff & Teachers; starting with the principals, The PTA's, The School Boards, Most importantly the P&G, and; Most critically the students themselves.

This type of inclusive and collective approach, brings with it a metaverse of answers and a plethora of solutions.

Thinking outside the box and having these 7 "dimensional" approach within each of their parameters, dynamics and kinetics, coupled with good sound expertise in the medical and public healthcare field, would help demonstrate and distinguish the Bahamas as a change maker with caring, competent "multidimensional leaders".

So can't blame this this person for trying, but at one point she has got to realize these things are beyond her capabilities and potentials, step aside and stop hurting progress by standing in the way and not being able to be more effective. An old Chinese proverb a great leader once said, "Don't expect a pussy-cat to roar like a lion or inflict the same fear response..."

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tribanon 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Cruel Davis obviously doesn't give a flying shiit about the mental health and well-being of school age children in our country's grossly dysfunctional and severely under-resourced education system. If he did, he would never have appointed Glenys Hanna-Martin minister of education.

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