Responding to an invited comment from BVI News on Sunday, the Minister said: “Our plans to reopen for some face-to-face instruction were delayed due to this current outbreak of COVID-19.”
He continued: “I understand that there are difficulties with fully online learning, but this is the safest option for continuity in learning giving the threat of this virus. Parents should bear in mind that COVID-19 is a serious threat, and we must remain vigilant in observing health protocols.”
While thanking parents and students for their perseverance and resilience, he said the ministry would use the lessons that it has learned from the last term to improve the effectiveness of our delivery to our students.
“Cabinet will review the decision to go fully online every two weeks to determine when is the best time to resume our plans,” he stated.
COVID-19 has now affected school-age children in the territory, health officials previously announced.
With that in mind, Minister Wheatley said the first term of the 2020/2021 would be held virtually for private and public schools.
“We will be providing orientation and training specifically for the educators, parents, students and support staff members of these institutions. The sessions begin on September 1, 2020, with a focus on the online platforms, specifically, in the areas of Power School, the VIDE textbooks full usage and Google classroom for assessment, evaluations and lesson planning,” he explained.
The education minister also announced that classes for all public schools would commence from September 21 following a number of meetings with various stakeholders.
“On September 7, as minister, I will speak to all educators as I outline my strategic direction for the school year and declare the official school year opened. This will be followed by a Professional Day for educators. The rest of that week will be used for Professional Development Planning and Preparation for the new school year,” he stated.