British Virgin Islands

Monday, Nov 30, 2020

Businesses open but schools closed? How come?

Businesses open but schools closed? How come?

As the BVI continues to enjoy a 100 percent decline in COVID-19 cases, former Education Minister Myron Walwyn is questioning why many schools across the territory remain closed while many businesses have been allowed to reopen.
In a recent Facebook post, Walwyn said schools should be reopened for face-to-face instructions because numerous students face challenges with online learning.

“I am pleased to see that the country is re-opening but what about our children? We were able to open bars, salons, restaurants, etcetera but we can’t open schools? Is there something that I don’t understand? Online learning, on its own, is woefully inadequate for the needs of a significant number of students,” Walwyn’s post said.

He continued: “Prolonged school closures with the academic, social and mental consequences that it brings for students is very troubling particularly for special needs, at-risk, and very young children. Do we recognize that we are infringing on the rights of our children to an education?

In September, the government approved face-to-face learning for all private schools, pre-schools and colleges. Physical classes were also allowed for some students in public schools who are not able to access online learning like everyone else.

The government said these schools could reopen once they’ve been inspected by the Social Distance Monitoring Task Force and approved by the Ministry of Education.

However, to date, many schools continue to deliver classes solely online.

Earlier this week, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley said he is pleased with the safety measures implemented by the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS) which recently reopened for in-person classes.

The minister said the success of the VISTS will impact the reopening of other schools across the territory.

“We can expect that other schools will reopen and I will be making a speech shortly on that topic,” Dr Whealtey stated.
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