All schools across the British Virgin Islands have been given the proverbial green light to operate face-to-face instructions at their respective campuses for the upcoming academic year.
Minister for Education, Hon. Dr. Natalio Wheatley made the announcement on Tuesday, August 10, via a live broadcast.
He informed that due to the drastic reduction in active, positive COVID
-19 cases in the territory, adjustments were made to the existing Public Health Order to include the relaxing of constraints pertaining to schools, as per the advice of the Health Emergency Operating Centre.
“As a result of these adjustments, we can now outline the plans for education for the upcoming academic year. All schools, public and private, will be allowed to open, and students will be free to return to school campuses and engage in face to face instruction for the 2021/2022 academic year,” he said.
He continued: “This decision has been made because we recognize there are some students who will benefit from being in the classroom environment, and we are laser-focused on our children’s success. We must also keep our children safe; therefore these schools are mandated to abide by the well-established protocols successfully implemented in the previous academic year, and we will take measures to ensure that these measures are adhered to because we cannot afford to take chances with our students or teachers health.”
The Minister said the decision to return children to school will no doubt cause some trepidation to some parents and even for some teachers, and the Ministry of Education is sensitive to those concerns.
He said to get a greater appreciation of how many persons may be uncomfortable with returning to the school environment, the ministry will conduct a survey next week to ascertain the numbers and to hear the concerns.
“The findings of the survey will guide and help to determine possible alternatives, such as an online option.”
He said in addition to this survey, teachers with underlying health conditions and other physical challenges who are experiencing some level of discomfort with the idea of face to face instruction should write to their principals, who will then relay the information to the ministry, and each case will be considered on an individual basis.
“The official start date for classes will be Monday the 6th of September,” Hon. Wheatley informed.