No definite date to reopen schools

JEFFREY LLOYD Minister of Education

“It will be impossible for schools to reopen on April 14,” said Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd.

Lloyd was speaking in the House of Assembly on Monday, April 6, following Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis’ announcement of further ‘Emergency Orders’ mandated to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the country.

Dr. Minnis in a national address back in March announced that schools throughout The Bahamas would be closed from March 16 to April 14.

However, the prime minister imposed a second nationwide complete lockdown beginning Wednesday, April 8 to Tuesday, April 14, the date set for schools to reopen.

"Many have called asking about the reopening of schools.

Mr. Speaker, as the PM just announced, this curfew and intermittent lockdowns will continue until the end of April, 2020.

"Therefore, schools will not reopen until certainly after that, but not until the competent authority – the prime minister – gives the order to do so," said the Education Minister.

As it relates to the decision being made regarding the sitting of national examinations, the minister said the following: "The Ministry of Education is reviewing our national exam schedule closely and guided by the facts and science, will be making announcement as soon as all the data needed to make that decision is available to us." 

In terms of the continuance of the Government's School Lunch Programme, he informed that it would continue.

 "There are some 4,200 public school students on our Lunch Voucher Programme, as identified by the Department of Social Services.

"Recognizing that the need for continued sustenance must be maintained, the ministry organized a delivery system for the distribution of the vouchers to the affected students and their families."

“Approximately, 55 percent of vouchers have been collected in New Providence and 45 percent in Grand Bahama. On the Family Islands, 100 percent have been issued,” according to the minister. 

"Transportation appears to be a key issue. Xtra Value and Budget had issues with printing on vouchers, however, that should be resolved this week.  The team would like to ask security personnel at the various schools in New Providence to assist with issuing the remainder of the vouchers in New Providence and on Grand Bahama.

"Due to the short week and the need to write up 2,700 vouchers for New Providence and 1,500 for Grand Bahama, the new vouchers will not be distributed until April 15 to 17," said Lloyd.

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