NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Ministry of Education intends to move forward with the national examinations next week as intended, according to Director of Education Marcellus Taylor yesterday.
Taylor’s comments come amid concerns over incidences of potential exposure to COVID-19 at three schools in New Providence.
Reports indicate that teachers have been sent home from C. I. Gibson, D.W. Davis, and Columbus Primary.
Taylor noted that while there are individuals who have been identified as being exposed to a positive case, the matters are still being assessed by the Ministry of Health Surveillance Team.
“When we do get information that this person is a contact of someone who tested positive then we kick into action based on the protocols that are being provided by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Environmental Health,” he said.
On Wednesday, health officials advised that it was investigating a suspected case of COVID-19 among a staff member at Columbus Primary School.
Officials advised that the necessary contact tracing was being conducted.
Yesterday, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson expressed concerns over the safety of teachers over the reports.
“Several schools we are watching closely as some teachers have been exposed to COVID-19 positive individuals,” Wilson told Eyewitness News.
“…Exams should be canceled and students should receive forecasted or predicted grades.”
But when asked whether the national exams will be impacted, Taylor said it will go forward as planned.
“It is our intent to run the exams next week,” he said.
“We will observe the protocols that we have established along with the Ministry of Health and we will work to try to execute everything as has been designed.”
Last month, Education Ministry Jeffrey Lloyd advised that national exams including BJC and BGCSE will resume from September 14 to October 2.
However, he underscored it would be the last time examinations would be halted.
“If for any reason – any reason whatsoever – that exams are again interrupted before its completion on October 2, they will be canceled,” Lloyd said.
The exams were postponed after the country saw a substantial increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the country.
The prime minister has since announced less restrictive measures for all islands, except New Providence.
Yesterday, Taylor noted that as the county reopens, Bahamians must be prepared for the new normal.
He pointed to recent comments from Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in the Nassau Guardian where he indicated that he does not foresee any more lockdowns and acknowledged that there must be a balance established between health and economy.
“You are doing the best you can but once you open up the country you may have more case, you may have more possible cases, you may have more suspected cases, but that’s why you have the protocols in place to follow them, to do the best you can to keep as many people safe as possible,” Taylor said.