NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Food vouchers for thousands of students will be issued on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Ministry of Education announced yesterday.
Around 4,000 students take part in the school lunch program, and collection will take place between 9am and 3pm.
In a statement, the ministry said all parents and guardians of enrolled preschool and primary school students can collect vouchers at their respective schools.
Vouchers for secondary school students can be collected from CI Gibson Gymnasium for those who attend DW Davis, HO Nash, LW Young Jr., TA Thompson Jr, CC Sweeting Sr., CI Gibson Sr., CR Walker Sr., and Doris Johnson Sr.
Students who attend AF Adderley Jr., Anatol Rodgers High, CH Reeves Jr., CV Bethel Sr., Government High, RM Bailey, and SC McPherson Jr. can collect lunch vouchers from A.F Adderley Gymnasium.
The ministry said it would contact the parents and guardians of students who attend Stapledon School, Marjorie Davis Institute, Centre for the Deaf, Pace, and the Erin Gilmore School for the Blind to advise them of distribution procedures.
“All persons collecting vouchers must present a government issued photo identification and are also required to wear a face mask/covering,” the ministry advised.
This time last month, the ministry’s voucher distribution exercise was underutilized.
According to Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd, a “significant” number of parents whose children participate in the program did not collect lunch vouchers.
When contacted yesterday, Director of Education Marcellus Taylor said: “We think it was under-collected last time, in part, because people may not have heard the announcements and also because of transportation issues, and I guess in the beginning, people were uncertain if you could go out.
“We are confident that this time around we have sent out more notices and more people are aware of it. In fact, after the last time there were many people who came later and said they didn’t know and they were not sure.
He continued: “So, we are confident more people will know of it… and we are hopeful we have an improvement of the collection.”
After the first case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) was confirmed in The Bahamas, the government closed all schools, on March 14, for a month.
School campuses were scheduled to re-open on April 14.
But as community spread of the virus became evident by an accelerated surge of cases, namely in New Providence and Grand Bahama, the ministry advised that all schools will remain closed until further notice.
All national secondary schools exams have been postponed until further notice as a result of concerns about the virus and its continued spread.
As of yesterday, there were 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases — 62 in New Providence, seven in Grand Bahama, eight in Bimini and one case in Cat Cay.
Shelter-in-place order and 24-hour curfew remains in effect with complete lockdowns over the weekend between Fridays at 9pm and Mondays at 5am.
The collection of food vouchers is an exempted activity.