The announcement hardly comes as a surprise with the Territory suddenly coping with 17 active cases of COVID-19 and the possibility of others infected but displaying mild or no symptoms.
According to Dr Wheatley, the Chief Education Officer had assembled a task force to come up with a plan for how teaching and learning would take place in this COVID-19 era of schooling and that plan was brought to cabinet last week and was passed.
“In light of this extremely serious reality, I cannot in good conscience proceed with the plan to reopen schools to face to face instruction. This will place administrators, teachers, support staff, and, our most precious resource, our children all at risk.
I am aware of the fact that many are yearning for the return to the classroom, and I have received criticism from many who are advocating for opening the Territory up, but we must prioritize the health of our children and our people above all other considerations.
“Therefore, we will return to online learning for the rest of the year. This includes all public schools and private schools, and our primary, secondary, and tertiary learning institutions,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Education Minister added that Cabinet will reevaluate in the coming weeks and months to determine when it will be safe to return to the classroom.
All public and private schools, primary, secondary, and tertiary learning institutions, must continue with strictly online learning for the remainder of the year.