While public schools on New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma were targeting a February 1 date for resuming in-person learning, Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd said that will not happen.
However, he assured that schools are “absolutely” expected to reopen sometime next month.
“We expect that schools will open sometime during February, absolutely,” Lloyd said.
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, 2020. 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, 2020, 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, resumed in-person learning, public school students on New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma are still restricted to virtual lessons.
Lloyd said yesterday that his ministry is in talks with the Ministry of Health to ensure that all health requirements are met prior to the reopening.
“Of course, I have said many times that we are in discussions with and dependent upon the approval of the Ministry of Health,” he said.
“I can say definitively that we are now in some stage of advanced discussions.
“And we believe that by the end of this week, we will be able to say definitively when school is going to open for a return to in-person instruction on the islands of New Providence, Abaco, Exuma, and Eleuthera.
“And the reason being is that we had to satisfy health. We needed to have in place all of the processes, procedures and protocols in the event of any eventuality.
“We want to be sure what happens if there is an infection, what happens with children when they are exiting school, coming to school. That now is being resolved to their satisfaction, hopefully.
“And I expect that beginning sometime before this week is out that we will be able to say to Bahamian parents [that] schools will be opening on such and such a date.”