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Blended learning, shift system proposed for tentative Sept 21 school reopening date

Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has proposed plan to implement a blended system of learning to include a shift system at select schools for the new academic year that is expected to start September 21, once approved by Cabinet.

During a recent video interview with a local media house, Dr Wheatley said the plan was constructed by his ministry and circulated to all stakeholders including schools.

“We are basically proposing a blended system of online learning and face to face instruction. 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,” he stated.

“For the bigger schools, they certainly won’t be able to accommodate all the students at the same time, so we are proposing somewhat of a shift system. Some students will be in school, some students will be at home and then of course those who are at home will have an opportunity to be at school at some point,” the minister added.

Dr Wheatley also said the shift system will not apply in cases where schools with small student populations are large enough to accommodate all of their students.

Clear the air on recent school closure

The minister also cleared the air surrounding the lastest Public Health (COVID-19 Control and Suppression Measures) Order signed by the Minister for Health Carvin Malone.

The Order, which expires on October 31 unless extended by Malone, stated: “All schools shall be closed and all school-related extracurricular activities shall be discontinued.”

Wheatley said that no decision was made by Cabinet to keep schools closed until the aforementioned date. He said the control and suppression orders usually extend for a period of three months, and the announced statement to close school stems from a Cabinet decision orginally made back in March.

“When Cabinet makes a decision on schools — which Cabinet will be making a decision on schools shortly — the Order will be amended to reflect the decision of Cabinet,” he stated.

Order failed to mention summer schools and daycares

Dr Wheatley further said the Control & Suppression Order also “inadvertently” omitted a section which approved daycares, summer schools and preschools to operate in the territory.

He said: “Summer camps can continue, daycares and preschools can continue to operate. We are working with the Attorney General’s Office to get that included in the Order.”

“It should have been included in the Order because Cabinet did make a decision to open daycares, preschools and summer schools, and Cabinet has not reversed that decision, so the Order should reflect that decision of Cabinet,” Dr Wheatley further explained.

Concerns from former Education Minister

The announcements by Dr Wheatley comes days after former Education Minister Myron Walwyn raised concerns on the government’s decision to close all schools as announced in the Order.

In a post on Facebook, Walwyn recommended that the government look into implementing a shift system, and also revise their policy surrounding online learning since, according to him, it has placed a number of students at a disadvantage.

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40 Comments

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  1. Common sense says:

    Ok time to look at facts – if just one student enters a school with the Corona virus let’s see what will happen, that one student enters a classroom and infects form 14 to 24 other students plus the teacher. They got to other classes or lunch and infects more students, then they take the virus home and infects their parents, other relatives, neighbors and friends. Next the working adult go to work and spread it to their coworkers and before you know it the majority of the island had been infected in only a short period of time. During all of this the schools get closed again and before you know it the island is back in locked down because government cannot contact trace under these conditions, even worse the hospital can not accommodate the majority of the island being sick so tell me you all really want to rush back into this without thinking? If you cared about your kids and other people lives you would think beyond yourself living at home with your kids. Instead of again not taking something seriously until it’s too late #irma and fyi studies show survivors of the virus still have permanent lung and heart damage so no it’s not just a cold.

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    • @Common says:

      So persons working with minors at home who will assist them with home schooling? Is your suggestion for Government as well as all private businesses to pay their staff to remain at home to supervise their kids? Do you people realize that we need to learn to live with COVID instead of trying to hide from it? If not now, when can the kids go back to school? COVID won’t be magically gone in 2021, so we should all lock down until some magical potion is available and all will be well? Even with treatment and vaccines, people will die from COVID, it’s a fact. Time to stop living in fear and start living according to your screen name, with COMMON SENSE!

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    • Whatts up says:

      Dear common sense appreciate your take on this issue at hand. Can we say that these are the days of Noah? Do we even listen anymore or do we even care? I hope that you along with others like myself that do care are not the minority.

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      • Really says:

        The Foy says there is no Covid in the Territory What’s the problem? You don’t believe him. LMAO. He’s your fearless leader. You voted for him. Now believe everything he says. Open the schools period. He says there is no danger. You have Cubans to make you well if you get a fever. What a loser lot you are.

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    • Whatts up says:

      Hope those of who are indeed concern are not the minority.

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    • @ common sense says:

      What the hell are you really trying to say?? This is what I’ll like to know.yes we want the best for our kids and ourselves so i don’t think any of us will intentionally put our kids and ourselves in harms way. One thing i want you to look at many of our Caribbean neighbors have the virus but hardly anyone dying and almost everyone from the windward and leeward islands who had it has fully recovered. Yes i believe we would have and increase when our borders are open and yes our health system cannot deal with much more than a handful
      But tell me which country in the world can deal with this virus??’ None absolutely none. No government was ever prepared for this much less these small islands but the good thing we are recovering from it when we do get it. So we have to start opening up slowly and see how it plays out.

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  2. Common sense says:

    Well their is no community spread that doesn’t mean you should create a culture pot for it to happen as quickly as possible! When it comes to infectious disease that can be spread so easily thinking about the one place when it is introduced can spread to the majority of the island, do you now the see the problem, we in the BVI have a habit of not taking things like this seriously until it’s to late. Please think carefully before you make this mistake. #irma

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  3. Splash says:

    Thank God for Myron.

    Like 19
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  4. Lily Ann says:

    Sooooooo the public had to uproar for changes to happen the SENSIBLE way ???? This GOVT needs to be thrown out.

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  5. finally says:

    Good job Myron. Thanks for that.

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  6. my eyes open says:

    If Myron had never said what he said our children would have been out of school until October 31st. This tells me that the government do not have plans and reasons for their decisions. How within days of Myron making recommendations that they could come back and change their plans soo quickly? its only because they notice people making noise about it since Myron got involved. Why the Minister had to run to media first thing yesterday. Stop playing with people’s lives VIP Government.

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    • Whatts up says:

      Can we bf flip flopping on duch an important issue as this

    • Whisper says:

      Believe it or not, the idea did not come from Myron. Schools were required to present proposals as to how students could be accommodated within the physical setting. The ideas that were presented are the same ones that the Minister shared. Teachers were already told that they would be returning in early September. My point is, the ideas didn’t come from the former minister, they came from the schools. However, the public would not have known that because the Ministry would likely not announce plans until the last minute.

      Like 5
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    • Please says:

      Most people skip Myron’s articles. His opinions are not our concern, he is not in office. We took him out.

  7. Well well says:

    Look a joke here! So only cause Myron talk they do something. It’s obvious. Any how , just follow through

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  8. good going says:

    Well at least they listen to sense. Thanks former minister Walwyn for your input.

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  9. Wow says:

    So all it took is for Walwyn to speak on the issue.

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  10. common sense again says:

    The borders are closed. People coming in are quarantined. We expect that the police and customs are working on the sea to prevent illegal entry. People are wearing their mask. There must be balance in what we do. Open the schools. our approach is doing more damage to the children than covid is. Thanks for helping to bring this situation up Myron.

    Like 17
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    • Anonymous says:

      Correction, some people are wearing mask, others are wearing mask with their nose exposed in public places. Lots of businesses, offices are not wearing mask even when standing shoulder to shoulder so don’t think that people are doing all they can to prevent the spread.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Myron what and when there is ever an outbreak I you guys don’t just blame the govt.but Myron also

    Like 7
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  12. L. Smith says:

    The captains that are taking persons to the USVI and coming back over are not being quarantined and nobody is talking about that? Obviously they cannot be quarantined if they’re in that business but it shows how STUPID the system is because with USVI’s cases rising and persons going back and forth it’s only a matter of time. The persons sailing back and forth are free to roam while those flying in have to do the 14 day quarantine.

    Like 12
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  13. no kind of plans says:

    This government tells too much lies and there is always some excuse for something once people start to talk. They had no plans to open school until October 31 until it became a big thing thanks to Mr. Walwyn for coming forward. Now in two days we could hear that school is opening on the September 21 when we couldn’t hear a thing for weeks. How come that date come out without cabinet approving it? Lies! Just trying to save face now. That’s all they do. Come up with these terrible things and then change when the public makes noise.

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  14. liars says:

    Only because Myron talk. Look at them now scrambling because they afraid to lose political points. That is all this government is about. School now open Sept 21 without cabinet approving it even though the order made by the same cabinet says school will open October 31. Y’all can’t see these people lying. They had no plans of opening school before October 31st. None!

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  15. lone jokers says:

    So the order said that school will be closed until October 31. The minister of education without cabinet approval, these are his words, say that school will be opening September 21.Theyreally think we stupid. The order was put in place less than a week ago. What changed between that time? Myron talk. That’s all. People kick up. That’s all. That tells me that these man don’t have no real plans. Nothing change between the order a week ago and the Minister of education announcement yesterday. Stop letting these people make idiots out of ayo.

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  16. SMDH says:

    Lol y’all people sick. Trying to credit Myron for something he has absolutely no influence over but he had power as a member of cabinet in NDP when we lost $7.2 million but poor Dr Smith have to take all the blame for that by his lonesome.

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  17. wilcock says:

    thank u baldhead

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  18. For God Sake says:

    You people don’t read. Why everything has to be politics. It’s so sickening.

    The proposal for education which includes a blended shift system was circulated and is being finalized. This Order is just a continuation of what was previously ordered in March until the full proposed changes are agreed and approved and can then become law.

    So Thank God for Myron for what? Saying what already being discussed and what he probably already knew was being discussed. These games need to stop.

    I sooo wish there was a manual on how to deal with COVID but none exists in any part of the world. We are doing good and let’s just continue praying for our Government.

    Like 10
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  19. Sept 21 says:

    Did I misunderstand? Did he say school won’t reopen till the 21st ? Why is that? All summer to prepare and pass a plan and get schools ready. These children need to get back to school.

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    • J says:

      School closed on July 31. Teachers are on vacation for a month. Do you expect students to return on September 1? Maybe a week earlier would have been reasonable but let’s remember that the school buildings will not prepare themselves.

  20. teach says:

    Are the issues of no running water on a regular basis, limited hand sanitizer, no papertowels, no toilet paper going to be addressed in schools so that basic hygeine and CDC handwashing guidelines can be met?

    • Concerned says:

      Not only regular hand washing. Will the classrooms be fully sanitized after every vlass? Currently they are half cleaned at the end of the day.

  21. Hmm says:

    So what about the parents of kids who are locked out. Will the government give them school supplies and pay the bus fares.

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  22. Haha says:

    Who will get the credit when borders finally open which it will be eventually. Will be it be Myron, Marlon or Cindy? Stay tuned as we play another game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe with m***ns from the BVI.

  23. Whatts up says:

    According to the W.H.O in order for schools to be open ,testing should be done to ensure there is no community spread.Have we been doing any testing to meet that criteria? Also what are we going to do with students and teachers who may have pre-existing conditions? Do we have school nurses at every school? Do we have isolation areas in the schools? If there is a case what are we going to do isolate the whole school at school. All these things we have to look at. Also when school starts are we going to prohibit elderly parents or grandparents from coming to close to the kids.

    Like 5
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  24. Vision says:

    Thanks for your intervention Myron.

  25. Watchman says:

    Giver 284 Meida their credits, this webiste is terrible… same thing Claude Cline talks about.

    • THE WISE says:

      SCHOOLS NEED TO REMAIN CLOSE UNTIL THE BVI HAS TESTED ALL RESIDENTS. WE ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE. THERE IS NO CURE. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE OUT COME WILL BE. WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE ANWERS TO THE PROBLEM. OUR CHILDERN DON’T NEED TO BE THE ONES TO TEST OUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. KIDS SHOULD NOT BE FORCE YO WEAR MASK ALL DAY. BVI IS THINKING IN THE BOX. LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING ALL OVER THE WORLD. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT. STOP POLITRICKING. GOD IS WATCHING. HIS ANGELS ARE WATCHING
      WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR IS WORKING. DON’T PUSH THE WRONG BUTTONS!!!! WE HAVE COME THIS FAR
      IT IS NOT EVEN A FULL YEAR YET
      ONE DAY AT A TIME. VIRTURE. STOP TRUING TO EMPRESS THE PUBLIC. LIFE HEALTH ARE MORE IMPORANT. WE HAVE COME THIS FAR WITH A GOOD OUT COME. DON’T MESS IT UP!!!!!!!!

  26. THE WISE says:

    SCHOOLS NEED TO REMAIN CLOSE UNTIL THE BVI HAS TESTED ALL RESIDENTS. WE ARE PLAYING WITH FIRE. THERE IS NO CURE. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE OUT COME WILL BE. WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE ANWERS TO THE PROBLEM. OUR CHILDERN DON’T NEED TO BE THE ONES TO TEST OUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. KIDS SHOULD NOT BE FORCE TO WEAR MASK ALL DAY. BVI IS THINKING IN THE BOX. LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING ALL OVER THE WORLD. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT. STOP POLITRICKING. GOD IS WATCHING. HIS ANGELS ARE WATCHING
    WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR IS WORKING. DON’T PUSH THE WRONG BUTTONS!!!! WE HAVE COME THIS FAR
    IT IS NOT EVEN A FULL YEAR YET
    ONE DAY AT A TIME. VIRTURE. STOP TRRYNG TO EMPRESS THE PUBLIC. LIFE HEALTH ARE MORE IMPORANT. WE HAVE COME THIS FAR WITH A GOOD OUT COME. DON’T MESS IT UP!!!!!!!!

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