The Ministry of Education is in the process of updating its COVID-19 protocols, Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd said yesterday.
Lloyd said that there has been a plan for infectious diseases in place at the Ministry of Education for years now, but it is currently being updated to cope with a potential outbreak of COVID-19.
“Among the updates, include that those who may now suffer any such symptoms…are to remain at home until they have been released by a medical facility or practitioner,” he said in the House of Assembly.
Lloyd told Parliamentarians that the updated information will be disseminated by Thursday and will include guidelines to be carried out at public schools across the country.
He said the ministry first sent a circular to stakeholders on January 31, but due to the alarming global spread of COVID-19, officials saw the need to update that information.
Lloyd said the existing protocols entailed having a health official verify that there is an infectious disease at the school, informing the director of education, and then determining the next steps.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic yesterday.
The virus, which can cause pneumonia, originated in Wuhan, China, late last year.
Since then, it has spread to all continents except Antarctica, with major outbreaks in China, South Korea, Iran and Italy.
As of yesterday, there were over 116,000 cases of the virus across the globe. Over 4,300 people have died with the majority of deaths in mainland China.
The virus has been spreading throughout the United States, where there were over 1,000 confirmed cases and 31 deaths.
So far, there have been no confirmed or suspected cases in The Bahamas. Last week it was announced that non-residents who have traveled to China, Iran, Italy or South Korea in the past 20 days will be denied entry into The Bahamas. Bahamians who have traveled to any of the countries face a two-week quarantine.