Dr. Bartlett details plan for virus focus in schools

DR. FRANK BARTLETT Chairman, GB COVID-19 Task Force

Head of Grand Bahama’s COVID-19 Task Force Dr. Frank Bartlett has detailed the procedures and recommendations of the Ministry of Health, as it relates to schools in Grand Bahama.

Last week, this daily reported that a teacher of Freeport Primary School had tested positive for the virus. Shortly thereafter, the learning institution was closed abruptly until further notice.

Dr. Bartlett, during the COVID-19 update on Wednesday, October 28, said that there is a procedure in place regarding positive COVID-9 cases within the school system, to mitigate the spread of the virus to students, faculty and staff.

“As it relates to when we have anyone testing positive in the schools, first and foremost, the Surveillance Team will do an evaluation and risk assessment. In the case of the school (Freeport Primary), we would have visited the school, identified areas of her movement within that school and her contacts within that school.

“As it relates to how and what we do when we have a case within the schools, be it from a staff member, a teacher or from a student; we look at the risk, based on what the risk is, and what we see happening in that school. We then make a determination as to what the next steps would be.

“We have within our plan, what we call ‘triggers’ for closing. If it is a situation where we have one class involving maybe one or two students, we identify, and we look at whether or not it warrants closing that class down. If we have more than one or two classes with persons involving other classes, then we are more likely to recommend closing,” he said.

He spoke further to the situation regarding Freeport Primary.

 “In the primary school that was implicated, persons there who would have gotten sick or ill, would have stayed home and quarantined appropriately. As a result of that, when their test, occurred, by the time we would have completed our evaluation, most of the quarantined would have actually been done without any increased incidences within the school.

“We have no other reports of anyone else within that school, as it relates to students being involved. That is usually the process that we take.

“We have a plan and we have discussed such with the different schools. It is something that is active and ongoing in Grand Bahama.”

According to Bartlett, as of Wednesday, October 28 the active number of cases being monitored on the island stood at 105.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced during the press conference that as of Friday, October 30, Grand Bahama’s daily curfew time will revert to 8:00 p.m. in order to combat the surge in COVID-19 cases on this northern island.

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