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National exams postponed

National exams have been temporarily suspended as a result of the lockdown of Grand Bahama, the Ministry of Education advised yesterday.

“…Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has today announced the lockdown of the island of Grand Bahama effective 7 p.m. Thursday, July 23 until 5 a.m. Friday, August 7, 2020,” the Ministry of Education said in a press release.

“Consequently, the ministry wishes to advise that in an effort to ensure the safety of all concerned and to protect the integrity of the national examinations, the 2020 sitting of the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) examinations is temporarily suspended effective immediately until further notice.”

The suspension of examinations was the second one in months. Initially, the exams were to take place during May and June. However, the country was still in the midst of stringent measures to combat the first wave of COVID-19 infections.

The exams got underway on July 13.

The latest suspension comes days after Director of the National HIV/AIDS Program Dr. Nikkiah Forbes asserted that The Bahamas is now experiencing the second wave of the virus. Prior to the recent spike, there had been no new cases in the country since June 14.

The Ministry of Education said students should continue preparing for the exams, which will be held at a later date “in accordance with the advice of the competent authority guided by Ministry of Health officials.”

Earlier this month, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson said she believed the national examination results will be worse than they have been in previous years as a result of the pandemic.

Wilson has repeatedly called for the cancelation of the national exams or a postponement to the fall.

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