School closures a challenge for some parents

Some parents said yesterday that the government’s decision to close all schools in The Bahamas for a month will have significant impacts on their daily lives.

Martha Louis said she has three children who will be affected by the closure.

“That means that I have to look for a babysitter,” Louis told The Nassau Guardian.

“I don’t think I’m an essential staff at work because they just rolled out the BCP (business continuity plan) so, that means I might be able to stay with them for the whole month.

“But, if not, that means I would have to find someone to watch them, so, that means extra finance and extra groceries.”

She added, “As a parent, it’s a lot on us but we have to do it for our safety.”

Monita Varence, a 31-year-old mother of four, had similar sentiments as Louis.

“It’s rough but I think it’s for the best,” she said.

“Honestly, I think we should’ve been doing more beforehand, so I take it in stride. I understand what the government is trying to do. I agree with it.”

Varence said her job provides flexibility to stay with her children if needed.

However, she said she didn’t know if she could “make it work” if the closure lasts more than a month.

On Sunday, during a national address, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said schools will close in light of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in The Bahamas.

He said they will reopen Tuesday, April 14, noting that the minister of education will provide further information in a communication to Parliament tomorrow.

Ednel Edgecombe, a father of two, said he wasn’t impacted by the prime minister’s announcement.

“Even if the school hadn’t closed, I would’ve been pulling the kids out today,” he said.

“To me, school is a germ pit on the whole. Anything that goes around, the kids normally come home with it. So, to avoid them being at risk, I needed to pull them out of school.”

Asked if he was worried how the closure will impact his children’s education, Edgecombe replied, “I’d rather have them home alive and back a little bit than have them in school risking their lives.”

Flo Turner, the mother of a 12-year-old, said the government needs to cancel Easter break following the one month school closure.

“I am especially worried if the schools are then going to have Easter break, that’s going to be a problem for me,” she said.

“So, I think this should be their Easter break now.”

Meanwhile, Cyntyche Smith, a teacher, said she wasn’t concerned about her grandchildren having another break after the closure.

While applauding the government’s initiative, she said she has “been loving” spending the time with her grandchildren.

“You see, I’m an educator, so, I keep them engaged while I’m home,” Smith told The Guardian.

She said she isn’t concerned that the school closure will hold her grandchildren back academically.

“No, because technology is so advanced, we can shoot work for them to do,” Smith said.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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