Bahamas News

Bahamas Minister of Education calls for keen attention to changes due to COVID-19

#Nassau, Bahamas – March 19, 2020 — The Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, urged Bahamians to participate consciously, patiently and with keen alertness to the changing demands that may come as a result of COVID-19 (Corona Virus).

In a Communication to Parliament, Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Minister Lloyd provided an update for the public and persons connected to education including leaders, superintendents, principals, administrators, teachers, students, other staff, parents and stakeholders.

“The reality is that we are in a National Public Health Crisis, evolving as we speak. The Bahamas has never been here before. Each day, the Science Community is learning more and more about the Corona Virus, which means that each day our response will have to adjust to conform to the new realities,” he said.

He acknowledged the stakeholders for their understanding, wisdom, patience and cooperation and expressed the leadership’s care for each member of the team.

Minister Lloyd also announced the following:

Support Staff

  • A rotation system is to be put in place for janitorial and clerical staff. The janitorial staff is to thoroughly clean all campuses using the protective equipment that will be provided.

Security Officers

  • All security officers are to report to work each day for their entire shift. Security officers that have large amounts of vacation time and or holiday days that they may have accumulated are advised to apply to take those days at this time.

Instructions

  • Teachers are to continue to engage students through the media they have established. Where that has not been done, they are directed to attend school, maintaining social distance, and secure the register of their students, while also utilizing sources for educational materials
  • Beginning March 30, 2020, the “live” instruction will be provided by teachers.
  • The Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Virtual School Platform is being upgraded and will be ready Monday, March 23, 2020. Fifty teachers have been trained for this platform which accommodates up to 100,000 students.
  • Over 500 devices have been given to students and teachers to access this program. Students can access this platform with any device that has internet connectivity such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets, etc.
  • The Ministry has approximately 1800 tablets for teachers and 2500 Amazon Fire 7 for students left to be distributed. It also has approximately 10,000 Amazon Fire 7 tablets that are in schools.
  • One-on-One ONLINE learning for after school and weekend personalized sessions are also being expanded which will be ready by Monday, March 23rd, 2020. Teachers will be allowed to use their personal devices for instructions or go to the campus and use those available there.
  • Remote conferencing capability is now being installed so that MOE leaders can communicate with all superintendents and principals in order to disseminate and receive information remotely.

     
  • By Friday, March 20, 2020, the Home Schooling Unit will be providing tips for parents working with their children at home and a list of educational links. The MOE will publish consistently and frequently Public Service Announcements, send out messages through WhatsApp, Facebook and the Ministry’s web site.

    Instructional Materials

    • Utilize existing resources that currently meet quality standards

    • Create instructional resource kits (digital, hard copies, etc.)

    • Publish list of topics in sequence by subject and grade level on MOE Website

    • Produce specific review package for National Examination candidates. To date, 1650 students have been engaged through our virtual learning platforms.
     
  • 19,829 Primary school students will participate in a one-hour daily live session as parents/guardians will be encouraged to follow the posted learning plans to support their children at home.
  •  The MOE will also be airing content via Our TV, ZNS, and radio.

    Lunch Program

    Meal vouchers will be provided for two weeks.  Parents will be required to collect and confirm the receipt of vouchers for their child/children. MOE will engage a number of eateries whereby students could be provided a meal.

    Guidance Counsellors

    Guidance Counsellors will be provided with cell phones so that psycho-social support could be given 8 to 4 for non-academic and psychiatric support.

    Security officers are also maintaining vigilance regarding persons accessing the building who are presenting with flu-like symptoms, and bringing such persons to management’s attention for further attention. It is anticipated that satellite offices will follow suit in these practices

    The Toll-Free numbers below would be available by this Friday:

    1. 300-2320

    2. 300-2319

    Proposed Revised Examination Dates

    Considerations are now being made to extend the Examination timetable. More information will be provided at a later date.

    Students have already received Individual timetables, however the large display timetables have not been printed as yet. It is proposed that the new dates, if agreed upon, will appear on the large/display timetables as well as placed in the media and on social media.


    To assist students with final preparations for examinations administrators, parents, guardians and other caregivers will be advised to:
  • Eliminate all non-instructional or non-essential observances in school e.g. Fun Day, field trips, special assemblies, sports days;
  • Provide opportunities for after-school instruction once students return to campus.

    University of The Bahamas

     
  • Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, UB campuses, centres and business operations including the Oakes Field Campus, Grosvenor Close Centre, and UB-North operations in Grand Bahama will transition to remote operations until further notice.
  • Additionally, Chapter One Bookstore will be closed until further notice. All events scheduled for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester are cancelled or postponed until further notice. This includes Spring 2020 Commencement. A further announcement will be made about Commencement at a later date.

    Remote Instruction
  • Remote instruction and communications will commence on Monday, March 16, 2020 using online applications including MOODLE and Zoom.
  • Faculty and student communications on course content will continue via online channels. A decision will be communicated by Friday, March 20, 2020 regarding laboratory and practicum classes.
  • Teaching practice, kitchen classes and internships are suspended until further notice.
  • Students and faculty needing assistance with remote instruction should contact the IT Helpdesk at 302-4588 or ithelpdesk@ub.edu.bs. Academic Affairs faculty and staff will be permitted to access their offices on Monday, March 16, 2020 to secure their offices.
    Residential Life

  • Students who are residing in university dorms are advised to gather their belongings and initiate arrangements to leave the dorms and return home effective immediately. Students who are not in a position to do so, should contact the Director of Residential Life and Housing at 422-6429 and Dean of Students at 424-8559 for further instructions and assistance

    Administrative Operations

  • Staff are advised that although they are to work remotely, effective Monday, March 16, 2020 they should remain in contact with their supervisors. Staff members who provide essential services including Security, Physical Plant, Information Technology, and Business Office, are advised that they will receive further instructions from their department heads.
  • The public is advised to use all available online resources to complete business transactions where possible during this interim period.

    Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute

  • Effective Monday, March 16, 2020 all face-to-face classes at BTVI have been cancelled until Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Only limited services are available on campus. Updates on the services available are posted on social media and the BTVI website. Many classes have been and are being moved to an online format. Training on the use of online has been made available to faculty. In particular, BTVI will use technology to enhance course content until the end of the term.
  • A series of free online training programs/courses are available to faculty which can assist them in improving their teaching capabilities.
  • Finally, plans are being prepared to properly manage end of term issues such as exams.
    National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of The Bahamas

    As of March 2020, NAECOB will recognize all online programmes completed at institutions that have been accredited by agencies acknowledged by NAECOB.
  • Programmes completed by Institutions not recognized by NAECOB prior to March 2020, will not be accepted.

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