Four hundred and sixty-six of the 3,200 teachers and aides across The Bahamas called in for “personal reasons” when in-person learning resumed yesterday, according to Minister of Education Glenys Hanna-Martin.
Over the weekend, Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson instructed 1,000 teachers, who are members of the union, to call in as a result of “a personal family circumstance”.
Wilson, who said the members voted in favor of the move, told the teachers to call in sick.
Hanna-Martin yesterday thanked the teachers who showed up to work in “overwhelming numbers”.
“I thank the thousands of parents who sent their children to school today,” she said.
“I am told that amongst the children presenting themselves today are scores of children who have been completely offline and out of school for two years.
“I along with Minister of State [for Education] Zane Lightbourne visited many schools today and it was a beautiful sight to see our children alert and activated in a disciplined, safe environment for instruction.”
Hanna-Martin said the road ahead will not be an easy one.
She noted that there is still a lot of work to do to ensure students are given the best opportunities to develop their potential.
“It will require the full partnership of all stakeholders and a pure spirit of cooperation,” the minister said.
“I continue to have an open line of communication with all stakeholders.”
Hybrid learning was initially supposed to resume on January 11, but was delayed after a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.
Under the hybrid system, student attendance will be divided equally between in-person and virtual learning. Officials said that at no time will there be more than 50 percent of the student population on campus as mandated by the Ministry of Health.
Hanna-Martin has expressed concerns about the impact of virtual learning on the education of students as some face challenges that prevent them from being able to attend online classes.
Last year, the director of education said about 30 percent of students were not logging on for virtual classes.