BVI News

Online-only classes for first term of the new school year as students among current COVID cases

With school-aged children being among the territory’s latest positive COVID-19 cases, the Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has announced that the first term of the 2020/2021 academic school year will be strictly online for all private and public schools.

Dr Wheatley made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday as he warned of the dangers that could result if face-to-face classes were to resume in the immediate school term.

He said it will place administrators, teachers, support staff and children all at risk of possibly contracting COVID-19.

“Alarmingly, some of these cases are school-aged children. Equally concerning is the fact that these positive cases were socially active and frequented crowded festive social gatherings. In light of this extremely serious reality, I cannot in good conscience proceed with the plan to reopen schools to face to face instruction,” the minister stated.

He added: “I am aware of the fact that many are yearning for the return to the classroom, and I have received criticism from many who are advocating for opening the territory up, but we must prioritize the health of our children and our people above all other considerations.”

Private schools to begin from next week

Dr Wheatley, who is also the Deputy Premier, further said classes for private schools in the territory will begin as early as Monday, August 31.

“We will be providing orientation and training specifically for the educators, parents, students and support staff members of these institutions. The sessions begin on 1st September 2020 with a focus on the online platforms, specifically, in the areas of Power School, the VIDE textbooks full usage and Google classroom for assessment, evaluations and lesson planning,” he explained.

Public schools to commence from September 21

The education minister also announced that classes for all public schools will commence from September 21 following a number of meetings with the various stakeholders.

“On 7th September, as minister, I will speak to all educators as I outline my strategic direction for the school year and declare the official school year opened. This will be followed by a Professional Day for educators. The rest of that week will be used for Professional Development Planning and Preparation for the new school year,” he stated.

Dr Wheatley also said the Ministry of Education will be conducting a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment and student orientation from September 14 to 18.

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14 Comments

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  1. What a thing says:

    What about parents locked out?? How are they supposed to help their kids if they are being locked out. You all say in september we can return but did you make it easy for us. NO. look how many letters we have to get from NHI, SSB, Income Tax. Minister approvals etc etc and for a fee too thats $85. for all the letters. I could pay my electricity bill for a whole month. Or buy food for my kids with $85. I hope you all can look into this. Its too much.

    Like 7
    Dislike 2
  2. Well done says:

    Those scum flouting the borders. Well done you.

  3. Applause says:

    Those scum flouting the borders. Well done you.
    To those who covered for them and said nothing, your are also complicit.
    To those authorities who ignores border breaches or turned away free assistance, you have let us down badly.

    This is a time we need to band together again, albeit distanced. Can we do that? After Irma, it didn’t last long but we have another shot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is hoped that the professional workshops will included more effective, detailed hands on work with the onlne teaching platforms for teachers, and perhaps even parents.

    The initial sessions, when they were first rolled out, catered to the young tech savy individual, not the older traditional teacher.

    The sessions were short introductory sessions, but didn’t do much to develop understanding and manuverability and delivery for the inexperienced non tech mind.

    Some older teachers are not “tech oriented” or savy, yet they are some of the brightest, capable and productive classroom teachers.

    Please afford those teachers an opportunity to increase that needed functionability before sessions begin.

  5. Ridiculous says:

    Absolutely ludicrous, government seeking to impose a dictatorship!

    Like 5
    Dislike 10
  6. No uniforms and additional training says:

    I’m happy with decision good job Mr Wheatley. I’m blessed to have a job where I’m allowed to work remotely. Feeling very heavy hearted for parents who aren’t working and have to produce funds everyday to support their families. I’d hope teachers accept the view that time are hard and NOT ask parents to find money at this time to purchase uniforms (kids grow like grass today it fits tomorrow it doesn’t). Once kids present themselves clean and tidy it’s should be enough. I hope the ministry has invested a bit of time in additional training or assistance for teachers especially the older ones. The experience for myself and one of my kids last term was not one I’d like repeated. The teacher was not tech savvy, needed proper assistance and was unapologetic for her lack of regard for anyone’s time. Kids need stability and routine. Parents do too especially when work has to be intertwined with assistant teacher duties. Not basing teachers if anyone reads it as such. Only speaking up for myself and others feeling similarly. Blessings.

  7. strupes says:

    He allowed the wet fetes to take pla ce thats why the kids are sick

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
  8. Hmm says:

    Children now have covid because of greed. I know for sure the person responsible for this would not want their children to get it yet they expose other people kids to it. I pray god that everyone affected get cured and hope you realize what danger you put the whole of the BVI in.

  9. SSB says:

    so social security and nhi closed and they did not finish processing persons claims for months now and simulus packages too. So it seems like some persons will not get any relief at all look how many months now people apply why some are getting and some nothing when wr all work for the same company???

  10. Slackness says:

    They need to take back the laptops from the students who took them and didn’t do the online classes nor turned in assignments.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  11. LOL says:

    The VIP ratings were in the trash and all this smuggling nonsense gave them a lifeline. Anyone who believes smugglers are to blame for the spread need a slap. It is an airborne virus with a 99% survival rate and many wont even know they have it. Go figure! These guys are loving this power trip! Further the matter of ventilators is just pure fearmongering. People need to research what a ventilator is and when it is used then you will realize the Premier keep harping that we have 8 of them has nothing to do with the matter at hand.

    Like 3
    Dislike 4
  12. Teacher says:

    As much as I am dying to reunite with my students, I don’t want my reuniting with them lead to anyone dying.
    Better to be safe than sorry. Online school is not the ideal but we can find ways and means to get the best from it.
    U.S.V.I, P.R. D.R, U.S and many others are out of control.
    We in the BVI are not equipped to deal with a surge. We only have one public hospital.

  13. Rubber Duck says:

    The infection rate in countries where the schools are open is next to zero amongst the children. Knee jerk panic is the Governments reaction to everything.

  14. @ slackness says:

    you talking bout take back laptops from children who don’t do any work or turn in any assignments… not making any excuses but i been away for months can’t get in, and my child had no internet nor anything not even a phone neither did the people whom he stayed with. He had to go down the road to catch lil wifi. After the strict lockdown, he had little to no means of communication. Then on top of it all, living on a remote island with little to no access to many things. So please don’t speak like that. Thank you

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