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Some parents worry about sending children back to school amid COVID-19

Denell Watson, 30, a mother-of-two, is concerned about sending her daughter to school amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic.

Watson said she has no other choice but to send her four-year-old daughter to school when it reopens in the fall.

“Well, I work at a school and my husband works as well,” Watson told The Nassau Guardian.

“We don’t have the option of sending her anywhere else at the moment. We literally don’t have a choice.”

She added, “You must be concerned.

“For children, who are younger, colds and flus are very common. My daughter is in pre-school. Before COVID-19, children would always come home with colds and running noses. Now, with COVID in the mix, it’s a totally different story.”

Watson said the government should announce their plan for reopening schools soon so that parents can begin preparing.

She said she needs to know how many uniforms to buy.

Unlike Watson, Windira Brooks, 29, who lives in Lincoln Green, Grand Bahama, is not worried about sending her daughter to school.

“For me, being home and having to homeschool my daughter these past few months, it’s been good,” she said.

“It’s been excellent. It’s been a challenge. I enjoyed helping her with her schoolwork. But here lies an issue when it comes to her being at the age to go to school. These are crucial years where she develops social skills. I know that it’s a concern for a lot of parents in terms of contracting the sickness and then passing it on to persons in the house.

“But, for me, I find that my daughter’s school has been active in stating what they’re going to do. So, I’m not as worried as most people would be.”

All schools in The Bahamas were ordered closed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Schools have yet to reopen.

With some schools expected to resume classes as early as late-August, parents like Jermaine Winder, a 46-year-old father-of-three, worry what measures will be implemented to protect his three children when classes resume.

Winder has two daughters — ages seven and 12 — and a son, aged two, who is in kindergarten.

He said the latter will likely not be going to school in the fall.

“I’m definitely concerned with this COVID crisis,” he said.

He added, “Classes can’t be full. So, how will the school handle this new normal? My girls have sinus and allergies so it is nerve-wracking.”

Georgette Albury, a mother of two, feels assured that her youngest daughter, who is going into the fourth grade, will be okay when classes resume.

She said her daughter attends a small school on New Providence, noting that there are rarely more than 12 students in each class.

“I would like schools to reopen,” Albury said.

“Her school doesn’t have a problem. I don’t see an issue with social distancing because it is already a small school. I don’t have much concern.”

On Tuesday, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said it is unlikely that the full student body will return to the classroom in September for the start of the new school year.

“We are looking at three models of school reopening, one of which seems to be the more prominent choice that will probably inure to the benefit of students this coming September,” he said.

“One, full educational instruction, which is unlikely if we must maintain physical distance and the various health protocols remain in place as they are now.

“Two, what we call a blended or a shift circumstance… Those who would be otherwise out of the instructional classroom would be transported to a care center still under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. Then, another model we are looking at is 100 percent virtual school.”

The minister said that plans are being finalized this week to determine the format for reopening schools.

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