What to do about our schools 

Dear Editor,

The prime minister is a man after my own heart. In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, he is focused on getting the nation into recovery mode. The economy is showing vital signs of improvement, and more and more Bahamians are going back to work or starting new businesses. Churches, restaurants and other social venues are gradually reopening. There are some who are calling for the reopening of schools, especially within the public sector.

I would advise the prime minister and the minister of health and wellness to leave the schools shuttered for the rest of this month. Yes, we all agree that it is not a good thing for schools to remain closed after almost two long years.

There is collateral damage being done to the finances of guardians and parents who are obliged to have a caregiver/housekeeper in place; they must purchase tablets or laptops and they have the burden of keeping the electricity on, so as to power the devices and to have access to data. The students themselves have lost a lot of educational time within the classrooms.

Some countries are confident that the Omicron variant has peaked. In addition, new vaccinations and pills are being rolled out even as you read this. We, like others, are adapting to the stark knowledge that the pandemic is not going away anytime soon. That being the case, should we or should we not reopen schools?

A majority of Bahamians and their households have yet to be vaccinated, and may not even do so at all, due to misinformation and any number of bogus excuses. If I held political sway in The Bahamas, I would make it mandatory for all Bahamians and residents to be vaccinated or be required to take a weekly test to work, congregate or simply move about freely.

Some may suggest that this would be too harsh or possibly unconstitutional, and maybe it would be. The fact of the matter, however, is that we are all in this together and we owe a duty of care to each and every other Bahamian and resident.

It is highly irresponsible for unvaccinated individuals to just walk and drive around without being jabbed once, much less twice, as is recommended. It cannot be left up to individuals to be responsible and/or safe.

All public schools should remain shuttered for another month or so. Alternatively, conduct small classes in large auditoriums or playing fields, which most of the schools throughout the nation have.

A rotation system could be introduced where three days per week are allocated to two different groups of students who would be tested before classes, and after, where possible. Other than this, we are between a rock and a very hard place.

 Ortland H. Bodie, Jr.

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