BJC and BGCSE exams resume today
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Nurses will provide “medical leadership” during the Ministry of Education’s national examinations beginning today through October, according to Director of Education Marcellus Taylor.
The director said while there is sufficient personnel to invigilate the national exams, the Ministry of Health has committed to providing nurses.
A notice making the rounds on social media requested that working or retired nurses who were willing to be stationed at various schools for the exams at $25 per hour over the next two weeks contact officials.
“In July, they provided the nurses,” Taylor told Eyewitness News.
“They are seeking to do the same. I suspect that nurses are in high demand.
“They are not being asked to invigilate. They are being asked to provide medical leadership at the schools in case it is needed.
When asked whether there were sufficient invigilators, the director said: “We believe we do have sufficient: All teachers posted at the school plus some outside persons should be available for tomorrow.”
He noted that all school sites where suspected COVID-19 cases were identified have been addressed were in a state of readiness.
“The Ministry of Education is and will continue to do all in its capacity to maintain a safe environment in order to ensure that we are able to provide our students with the opportunity to attain these important credentials of BGCSE and BJC,” Taylor said.
The Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) has expressed concerns about the safety of students, teachers and staff following several cases of COVID-19 being confirmed among staff at various schools over the last week.
Teachers and staff reported to schools on September 7.
In a statement, the Ministry of Education insisted schools were safe and said assertions to the contrary were designed to “create public panic among teachers, students and parents, in pursuit of the BUT president’s selfish goal of derailing the national examinations”.
The exams begin today and end on October 6.
“The Ministry is deeply aggrieved by the fact that the BUT president would seek to deprive children of this vital opportunity, and while this behavior is not unexpected, it is particularly regrettable that such action would be taken at a time when we should all be pulling together as a country to advance national development in the midst of the worldwide COVID crisis,” read the statement.
The ministry said the Ministry of Health and Department of Environmental Health has mandated clear procedures and protocols for addressing cases and contacts of cases that have been designed to “preserve both individual and public health and safety”.
According to the statement, while there have been reported cases of COVID-19 infections at a few schools, those premises were vacated, sanitized in accordance with all protocols and have been made safe.
The ministry also assured that the necessary personal protective equipment, cleaners, sanitizers are in place at all government schools as required and regular cleaning and proper sanitization has been undertaken.
“We especially encourage teachers not to be persuaded by the antagonistic pronouncements coming from Mrs. [Belinda] Wilson, which do not comply with Ministry of Health guidelines, and we invite all Ministry of Education officers to review the Ministry of Health website for themselves, which provides specifically that 3 feet social distancing is permitted between desks within classrooms, provided masks are worn by students.
“Teachers are also encouraged to review the EMRAD requirements for buildings, which are posted on the Ministry of Education’s Facebook page.”