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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
• 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.
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 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:
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 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 email@example.com. Academic Affairs faculty and staff will be permitted to access their offices on Monday, March 16, 2020 to secure their offices.
- 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
- 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.
Soca Warriors crush Bahamas at home
By Rashaed Esson
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Trinidad and Tobago’s Soca Warriors dominated the Bahamas at home, at the Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, for the 2022/2023 Concacaf Nations League on Friday, with a 3-0 victory.
The Soca Warriors struck their first blow within the first 5 minutes of the game, with Kareem Moses making the first shot in the top left corner of the net giving T&T one to the Bahamas’ zero (1-0).
Soon after, in about 26 minutes, they made another shot giving them 2-0 away from home; the scorer Joevin Jones. By the 34th minute mark, the winning goal was made by Ryan Telfer, T&T now at three.
Neither team scored any additional goals as the match progressed despite attempts made by various players.
Trinidad’s win gives them 12 points through five matches. Next match for the Soca Warriors is against Nicaragua; that clash is set for Monday March 27 (at home in Tobago at the Dwight Yorke Stadium), in a tussle of winner-take-all on the final match day. The victor takes home a promotion to League A and a spot in the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.
Angus Eve, T&T’s head coach expressed that the job is only half done, keeping aware that more challenges are coming their way, one of which is the nearing match against Nicaragua who is one point ahead of the Warriors.
Meanwhile, The Bahamas will journey to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines with hopes of emerging victorious there.
7 million lives at risk because of salt
March 24, 2023 – Without immediate and widespread efforts at curbing salt intake, 7 million lives will be lost by 2030 according to the World Health Organization. The warning follows the first-ever Global Report on Sodium Intake Reduction, which revealed that the world would not meet its sodium intake reduction target of 30 percent by 2025 on its current path.
With only 5% of WHO Member States protected by mandatory and comprehensive sodium reduction policies, the rest of the world must immediately implement ‘highly cost-effective sodium reduction policies to protect against some of the most common non-communicable diseases.
No Caribbean country was mentioned in the group of nine countries with comprehensive salt laws, but Barbados is currently set to make effective stringent regulations to govern food consumption and food quality.
Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General said:
“Most countries are yet to adopt any mandatory sodium reduction policies, leaving their people at risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. The WHO calls on all countries to implement the ‘Best Buys’ for sodium reduction, and on manufacturers to implement the WHO benchmarks for sodium content in food.”
North America and the Caribbean have the highest child diabetes statistics in the world, with the second highest prevalence in adults as well. In Turks and Caicos in particular, over 300 hundred residents have failing kidneys, a number described as ‘alarming’ by experts. Kidney disease is fueled in most cases by diabetes and hypertension.
The WHO is then advising Governments to do four things:
- Reformulating foods to contain less salt, and setting targets for the amount of sodium in foods and meals.
- Establishing public food procurement policies to limit salt or sodium-rich foods in public institutions such as hospitals, schools, workplaces, and nursing homes.
- Front-of-package labelling that helps consumers select products lower in sodium.
- Behaviour change communication and mass media campaigns to reduce salt/sodium consumption.
With these measures in place, the salt reduction target can still be achieved, according to the WHO.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
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