By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
CV Bethel Senior High School shut its doors yesterday, sending home a small number of educators on campus due to one testing positive for COVID-19.
School officials did not answer when called, however Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson told The Tribune the school was closed and she advised her members to work from home.
“Yes there is (a) COVID positive case and the teachers have left and I have advised them not to return,” Ms Wilson said. “So they will put in for ‘work from home’ and they will work from home going forward.
“Furthermore, the Ministry (of Education) has sent out a notice for them to use Zoom. The teachers were on Zoom for some time because they could not get on the ministry’s LMS (learning management) system.”
When contacted, director of education Marcellus Taylor said he was not aware of the issue.
“I am not aware of it. I don’t know anything about it, but it could be the case,” Mr Taylor said. “Virtual instructions are going on so there would be no children at the school. There are some teachers at the school who are not working remotely. I have no particulars on them closing, though.
“We have protocols in place. There are two agencies that they need to call. The Surveillance Unit, Ministry of Health, for them to give guidance on the specifics of the particular case and then the Department of Environmental Health who will advise them on how the cleaning should be done. They can contact me later for information purposes, but they would need to call where they get immediate action. If they call me, all I can do is call those agencies.”
Mr Taylor said he didn’t want to sound flippant, but there are principals there who are capable of running a school with over a thousand students and a hundred teachers, “so they do not need to call me so I can call somebody else”. He said they can follow the protocols given to them by the Ministry of Education.
“We don’t know what their protocols are, but there is a positive case there at CV Bethel,” Ms Wilson continued. “Ninety-nine point five percent of the teachers in New Providence are working from home, so CV Bethel had some teachers who said that they could not work from home because they do not know how to operate the platform and the training that the Ministry of Education supposedly gave, a lecture, was not hands on so they are helping each other.”
Meanwhile Mr Taylor indicated that a possible spread of COVID in public schools should be limited due to virtual learning guidelines in New Providence.
“If they run into a challenge, then they will call us,” Mr Taylor said.
“At this point where the students are at home, this is not much of an issue, as there is only one teacher in a classroom (giving virtual instructions) so the spread won’t be that much.
“Now if they decided to congregate on their lunch break then they are doing that on their own.”