With a February 1 target date of resuming face-to-face learning in all public schools, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said the specifics are still being worked out.
He said officials are still waiting on permission from the Ministry of Health.
“Our target is February 1, and we would certainly like to be able to do so,” he said.
“And we are hoping that when we do meet with the ministry sometime next week…they would be able to give us more information as to what is possible and not possible.”
Lloyd said the plan is to use a blended learning model on New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma. However, he noted that a number of protocols have to be established before that can happen.
“What we also have to be concerned about is what happens if someone presents with symptoms, what are the protocols?” he said.
“Do we have the facilities in place to accommodate those persons and to respond?
“…And if a person presents with certain indications that we consider to be worrisome, do we have access to health facilities?”
In the meantime, Lloyd said the ministry is still in the process of remedying issues with the virtual learning platform.
“These issues are going to arise from time to time because it is new for many persons, one, and also we are talking about a demand on the system that the system has not had in any time in its history,” he said.
He added, “We have adapted and adjusted our training to meet the various needs of our teachers and educators and all staff, and that will continue.”
The 2019/2020 school year ended abruptly for students and teachers around the country after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in The Bahamas on March 15. Schools nationwide were shuttered to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Three days after public schools opened on Monday, October 5, the prime minister announced in a House of Assembly communication that all schools on New Providence and Abaco may only proceed via virtual means.
While a number of private schools, as well as public schools on other islands, have resumed in-person learning, public school students on New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma are still restricted to virtual lessons.
Many educators have noted that the virtual lessons are not ideal, particularly given the low attendance levels observed over the past several months.