Coronavirus: Teachers told “your safety comes first”

Coronavirus: Teachers told “your safety comes first”
Bahamas Union of Teachers president Belinda Wilson (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson advised teachers today to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a voice note sent to members throughout the country, Wilson said she wrote the permanent secretary and Minister of Education for the protocol in the event of an outbreak, but had not received it yet.

She said she has been receiving numerous calls from teachers who have expressed their concerns.

“I want you to be very vigilant, observe a child or your colleague, if they are coughing or sneezing or there’s a fever, I’m not saying they have the coronavirus, but as quickly as you can you can give the information to your principal or administrator or you can even engage your colleague,” Wilson said.

“Request cleaning agents such as bleach, Lysol, sanitizers, wipes, from your administrators.

“Every teacher should have a supply and the sanitizers that should have about 70 percent alcohol base.

“Make sure that your students are exercising good hygiene also.

“…If schools are going to close, I am just saying to you, while I wait for the response as to the closure of schools and the safety precaution, I want to say to all of you that your safety comes first.”

Wilson urged her members not to panic, but to remain focused and informed.

She added that the union is in the process of getting doctors to make presentations to teachers in Grand Bahamas and other Family Islands.

The World Health Organization has officially classified the spread of the virus as a pandemic, saying it is “deeply concerned” by the rate of the spread and severity, and by the “alarming levels on inaction”.

This comes nearly two months after the COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the potentially deadly virus.

As of today, there are still no suspected, reported, or confirmed cases of the virus in The Bahamas.

The University of The Bahamas has also advised of actions taken to protect the campus and its students against the virus.

In a statement yesterday, the university cancelled a meeting scheduled on COVID-19 preparedness and response, slated for today.

“Faculty are encouraged to use online applications like Moodle and Microsoft teams to deliver course content and communicate with students,” it read.

“Similarly, staff members are encouraged to use Zoom and Microsoft SharePoint to host meetings, and share information.”

The university however will remain open and operational and classes are continuing even though the use of online resources is being encouraged.

A decision has yet to be made regarding the curtailing of operations.