BVI News

Cabinet discussing the possibility of summer schools amid concerns about online classes

Dr Natalio Wheatley

With only a few weeks left in the 2019/2020 academic year, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has said Cabinet is currently discussing the prospect of summer schools/camps as a supplement for students who have fallen behind because of COVID-19.

His statement comes amid growing concerns about the state of early childhood education since the pandemic that caused all physical school campuses to close and shift to online classes.

“We have been having discussions about summer schools, reopening schools, and other things,” said Dr Wheatley in effort to reassure parents on Thursday, June 18. “Even though you are not privy to these discussions, they are taking place.”

‘Online schooling not working for my child’

The minister was responding specifically to a local mother who posted on social media that online schooling has not been working for her child. 

In her post, she said she supported the implementation of a summer school programme this year. The mother, who noted she is overwhelmed with concern, further sought the opinion of other parents.

“I’m still struggling to understand any of this. I am a full-time working mother. My five-year-old child has been at home since mid-march. Online schooling didn’t work for my child. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be working for many children. Is it working for your child? Please tell me,” she said.

She further questioned government’s decision to reopen the territory and permit certain activities but not reopen schools.

“Schools are struggling to open yet you can take your child to a birthday party with 50 other kids. Does that make sense? I can go and get my hair done, get a massage, and go to a bar. But, meanwhile, my child is still stuck at home.”

Strong opposition to reopen school

The parent further said that she believes there is a strong opposition towards the reopening schools; noting that her child’s school was reopened sometime last week but closed 24-hours later.

And while stating that she understands the gravity of COVID-19, she said schools remaining closed at this junctiure is negatively impacting children across the territory who may be suffering in silence.

“We have no cases [of COVID-19] here and haven’t had any cases for weeks. I feel like children are being punished while we are COVID-free. Can’t we just give our children the space to enjoy summer? How long is this going to go on for?” she questioned.

“Are we waiting for another case of COVID? While our borders remained closed – with the exception of a few Belongers coming back in who are in strict quarantine – can we not just let our kids run free?” she further asked.

She then called for summer schools to open but without some of the coronavirus-related measures such as having to wear a mask. She said it is impractical and for children to wear masks all day, especially considering the high summer temperatures. 

Other parents in agreement with concerns

Her post generated more than 70 reactions and multiple comments, including a few from the education minister who said the positions she articulated “are being presented” to Cabinet.

“You would appreciate there are also perspectives to the contrary,” Dr Wheatley underscored.

However, several other social media users who responded to the post indicated that they agreed with the parent.

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30 Comments

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  1. Schuuups says:

    DISCUSS TOURISM AND GETTING REVENUE INTO THE PLACE.

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  2. Concerned also says:

    Public and private school children are all suffering. My child is at s* G*****’s or i.ary where they demanded you pay all the school fees for every month lockdown or not. They recently started some online classes from 930 to 200 with a one hour lunch break and three screenbreaks of 20 mins each. What are the parents paying for. The government better not be giving free money to these private money collecti ng schools. Parents explained they were not working so not getting a salary but these hustlers…

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    • Another Parent same school says:

      With all the breaks you complain about, can you say that your child has not been doing anything? I am totally impressed with this school so far. in fact, i believe that they are doing too much for online schooling. dont be ungrateful

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      • Same here says:

        I agree. My child also goes to the same school and I have been satisfied with the learning environment thus far. I can’t say what grade the other person is referring to but my child has been on the online platform for some time and it has been working well from 9:00am to 2:00pm.

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        • But says:

          My child goes to another private school and I have the same concerns. Full pay and part-time service and the Ministry do not seem to want to do anything about it.

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          • Zone 7th says:

            This dude is lame how the hell he gets there no repeat for you bro, you not ready doing nothing for the 7th.miss uncle Ralph nothing is the same with this group.education is not all

  3. Last priority says:

    They government wasn’t even studying the state of the education system…too busy with passing the law for gambling SMH. Most of the lazy children have gotten accustomed to being home and don’t want school to open. Some of them are lucky for the virus cause many were not gonna be promoted to another class

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  4. Smh says:

    Discuss yuh mother people here worrying about education for children and you here talking bout tourism

  5. ... says:

    Antigua makes passenger pay $100 for a rapid test if given all clear they are let In…if tested positive quarantine… stop playing with people let’s go

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  6. Get it right says:

    There are no ‘KNOWN’ active cases. Why do you think you still have to follow protocols like social distancing and wearing masks? When last was any new testing done?

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    • @ Get it right says:

      I passed a Primary School in town today and don’t recall seeing any of the children wearing masks though they were wearing their uniform.

  7. true says:

    she complainning about looking after her 5yr old child, the ONLY reason her 5yr old child is not doing well at online school is because she wants to go to the bar get that massage and have a party. Harsh but true WTF

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    • Claire Louise says:

      I am the mother of the 5 year old child and I am trying to keep my job right now, I work full time. I wish I had the time or money for a massage. I can’t remember the last time I went to a bar. Please think before speaking next time.

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    • Rude says:

      That was not nice to say! If she loses her job, and become a burden on the government people like you would be the first to call her down! We have to work! Not everyone home like you playing the them fingers.

  8. OPEN THE SCHOOLS VIP says:

    NO COVID CASES AND THE CHILDREN ARE SUFFERING!

    OPEN THE SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES

    OPEN THE SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES

    OPEN THE SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES

    OPEN THE SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES

    OPEN THE SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES

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    • Covid control says:

      That’s the new era we live in – government control everything!!
      Children can go to ballet, sailing or tennis but not school???
      Da Mek Sense?

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  9. Wow says:

    Please also give the children from Primary School to High School and College a proper graduation.It can be done!!

  10. Work on the side says:

    A lot of private school teachers home collecting checks and doing tutoring. They who blocking reopening of schools them getting cake and eating it too !

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  11. HMMMMM says:

    They are professing no schools are open, but a particular preschool in Carrot Bay is open, I wonder why only her Preschool is open. Oops I heard in the house today, she has a contract from the Ministry of Education. Favoritism will sink this Govenment.

  12. Cry babies says:

    As president Trump said they are too soft .none of us would like our child to catch covid 19 in the classroom and don’t know we’re who they catch it from then many of you parents wouldn’t wanted to be tested .

  13. Doctor says:

    Children needs to be able to run around , play and get sun light. if they are being locked up in a house , that is only weakening there immune system .There body needs the fullness of what life has to offer to function physically and mentally.Get some soap and running water in the schools and get the kids to practice proper hand washing after playing and eating , just like you have the hand washing stations at almost every establishment. Lets help our up coming generation to face life , not lock them up.

  14. To whom they belong? says:

    Some of you all are complaining that children are at home lock up.

    Why can’t the parents take THEIR children outside to play, or to the beach, or to the park?

    SOME of you are the ones who have YOUR children locked up at home.

    • Hello says:

      We’re having to work so not exactly in able to be in two places at once

    • @To whom they belong says:

      I am speaking about the regular Monday to Friday when the Parents are at work.I take my kids out on the weekends to the beach etc.The children needs to get back out to school to enjoy the academical environment.Why do they have clubs and churches also other large gathering activities and not schools.The Kids are being punished in all this.Everyone should know the real truth behind this plandemic and how its taken place if your research was done.Why cant the powers that be come out with the real truth.

  15. Styler says:

    I can shake your hand he. ain’t doing a DAM thing he and his whole staff needs shaking up. He making sure his friends and colleague get top job I glad he gone with that S**** woman from the college she DUMB as s**t can’t teach you all keep down Culture real fool

  16. Hmmm says:

    Well children parents need to be let back in asap and without having to paid quarantine fees too Just like the nationals.

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