British Virgin Islands

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021

Gov't has plan to re-open schools by Sept 21, 2020 - Dr Wheatley

Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley said Government has a plan to re-open school by September 21, 2020; however, that plan has not been shared with the public as it is dependent on Cabinet's approval.

According to Hon Wheatley, speaking during a live Facebook interview with 284 Media on August 6, 2020, contrary to the belief that the government has taken a decision to close schools until October 2020, that date is a continuation of the 3-month COVID-19 suppression orders issued at the end of July, which reflected the March decisions of Cabinet to close schools.

Cabinet to decide shortly - Hon Wheatley

"When Cabinet makes a decision on schools, which cabinet will be making shortly... the order will be amended to reflect the decisions of Cabinet," he said.

"The moment that Cabinet makes a decision on schools, and I have to tell the public that a plan has been constructed by officials in the Ministry of Education, the plan has been circulated to all stakeholders including schools, all the schools would be fully aware that we circulated the plan."

Painting a picture of how local schools could look, beginning September 21, 2020, Hon Wheatley said the government is proposing a system of online and physical learning.

"We are basically proposing a blended system of online learning and face to face instruction," Hon Wheatley said.

"We will not be able to accommodate all the students in school because of social distancing and we certainly will be observing social distancing in the new school year."

Shift system to be implemented

He said for the bigger schools; however, where accommodation of all the students will not be possible with social distancing; a shift system backed by education officials will be implemented.

He said both public and private schools will be subjected to the rules once approved.

"In a situation where schools are big enough, and they have small enough student populations to be able to accommodate all the students, then all the students will be able to attend without having to resort to the shift system," Hon Wheatley said.


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