Suspected cases of COVID-19 at four schools on NP, says education director

Director of Education Marcellus Taylor said there are suspected COVID-19 cases at four schools on New Providence.

“We have contacted both the Surveillance Unit at the Ministry of Health and the environmental health department and they’re providing the school administrators with the guidance to deal with the matter,” Taylor told The Nassau Guardian.

He said the affected schools are Columbus Primary School, D.W. Davis Junior High School, C.I. Gibson Senior High School and Stapledon School.

The suspected cases have raised concerns among teachers, students and parents as classes prepare to start next month.

When asked about those concerns, Taylor replied, “Let’s try to put this in context. School, like other places, is only a microcosm of society. We have 2,600 or 2,700 cases so we’re bound to have one or two of the cases in the school just by the law of averages.”

He said the suspected cases will not impact the national examinations which resume today after being suspended for nearly two months following a spike in COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas.

“We don’t see it really creating a problem because they (health officials) are aware that we are having national exams,” he said.

“Even though the cases are only suspected, they will do cleaning and sanitization as if it were a confirmed case. So, if we do the cleaning and the sanitization as if it were a confirmed case, then the rooms will be ready and the exams can proceed.”

Taylor said the Ministry of Education is doing “all that we can to keep people as safe as we can”.

“We’ve told people if they don’t feel well or if they have any symptoms or if they have any reason why they might be a possible case, don’t come to work if they’re working and don’t come to school if they’re a student,” he said.

“We want people to realize that part of it as well. So, every day we expect that they will do a check of themselves to make sure they are okay. If they’re having doubts about their well being and their health conditions, then they should report to a health facility to be checked out.”

Schools across The Bahamas have been closed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March.

Last month, it was announced that both public and private schools will reopen on October 5 with schools on Abaco, Eleuthera and New Providence reopening virtually. Public school teachers are mandated to provide virtual instruction from their school campuses. 

Schools on the remaining islands, including Grand Bahama which has the second highest number of COVID cases in the country, will reopen for face-to-face instruction.

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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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