TIMES.VG

BVI, Caribbeanand International News
TIMES.VG

Physical schools re-opening despite COVID-19 concerns

Physical schools re-opening despite COVID-19 concerns

A cabinet backed phased reopening of schools in the Virgin Islands (VI) has been approved, upturning a previous tentative decision to keep classrooms closed for the rest of the year.

Making the announcement last evening Friday, September 18, 2020, was Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Dr The Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) who credited good containment of the last COVID-19 spike in cases as an enabling factor for the change in plans.

“As a result of the continued progress that the Territory has experienced with the identification and isolation of positive cases, with the widespread testing and reduction of new positive cases, and with the many recoveries of infected persons, I am pleased to announce that we are now poised to resume our phased reopening of schools,” Hon Wheatley said.

The decision comes despite lingering concerns of COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the territory, concerns that derailed earlier opening plans due to an August 2020 spike in local COVID-19 cases.


Making the announcement last evening Friday, September 18, 2020, was Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Dr The Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) who credited good containment of the last COVID-19 spike in cases as an enabling factor for the change in plans.

Phased approach subject to inspection


In the first phase of the opening approach, private schools, daycare centres, pre-schools and colleges will open for in-school instruction.

These institutions will be subject to inspection by the Social Monitoring Task Force and the Ministry of Education, and must comply with the social distancing protocols of six feet and sanitisation measures.

“It is of paramount importance that everyone understands that all educational institutions must have measures in place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our children and our teachers, as stipulated in our ‘Framework for the reopening of Schools’, or they will not be allowed to open. This is a serious responsibility that we must all work together on,” Dr Wheatley said.

While no specific date was announced for the re-opening, Dr Wheatley told Virgin Islands News Online (VINO) that institutions will be allowed to open once inspected and approved.


Both public and private schools will be expected to meet COVID-19 guidelines to re-open.

Public schools opening for some students


Public-school classrooms will also be re-opening in a phased manner to allow entry to a number of special groups.

“We recognize that all students are not able to access online education in the same way,” he said, as such, technical education students, students with special needs, marginalised students and some adult education students will be allowed into the classroom.

He encouraged institutions to continue using digital tools like Cisco Webex, Zoom online platform, Class Dojo, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Google Teams, and Google Hangout for interactive online sessions.

The Minister also noted that schools will be expected to comply with the requirements outlined in the Ministry’s Framework for the Rreopening of schools, including wearing of masks, visitor restrictions, social distancing and sanitisation stations.


Enis Adams Primary School in Meyers Estate, Tortola. A cabinet backed phased reopening of schools in the Virgin Islands (VI) has been approved, upturning a previous tentative decision to keep classrooms closed for the rest of the year.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.VG
×