BUT says some schools on New Providence not ready to open for face-to-face

BUT says some schools on New Providence not ready to open for face-to-face
Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson. (FILE PHOTO)

MOE to hold press conference today

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson yesterday expressed concerns with the preparation of some school campuses, as schools on some islands resume face-to-face learning after months of virtual learning.

Last week, some public schools on Eleuthera resumed face-to-face, and others on New Providence conducted student orientation in preparation for returning to the classroom on Tuesday.

As part of the hybrid, face-to-face learning model, around 30 percent of students will attend schools for face-to-face learning for a period of three days, while the remaining learn virtually, and then rotate to ensure all students benefit from traditional classroom learning.

The Ministry of Education will host a press conference today regarding the return of those students to the classroom.

However, Wilson said the union remains in the dark about certain issues.

“We are not certain as to what the health and safety protocols are specifically for education because education has just generally said what the Ministry of Health will be doing,” she said.

Wilson noted a health and safety protocol checklist has been provided to union shop stewards at schools across the country to ensure the proper conditions are in place.

She said those individuals will check to see whether there is proper signage in the school, ventilation in the classroom, internet access throughout the entire campus and a designated area that can be used for suspected cases of COVID-19.

She said Tuesday will be a dry run to find out what protocols are in place.

Wilson noted there has also been concern raised that plexiglass has not been placed for teachers’ protection.

“We will be monitoring schools closely on Tuesday morning to ensure that it’s a clean, safe working and learning environment for teachers and students.”

Wilson also expressed concerns about some 11 schools that will not open on New Providence for face-to-face learning because of incomplete school repairs or repairs that have not yet started, which impedes the teachers from getting into their classrooms and students from being present on campuses.

She pointed to C W Sawyer, which reportedly needs “major repairs” and has been using the hall of a church for classes.

She added that schools where other concerns have been raised include Stephen Dillet Primary, Uriah McPhee Primary, along with schools on Eleuthera and Abaco that still need repairs.