Bermuda School Term Cut Short Because of COVID-19 Spike

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Photo: Government of Bermuda/Facebook

Ten new cases have pushed Bermuda COVID-19 total to 113, with schoolchildren making up a third of active cases, health officials have said.

Several Government schools will therefore move to remote learning, while others will start the Easter holidays early.

The latest figures and developments came as Premier David Burt predicted the island could reach herd immunity by June 1.

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The 10 new cases came from the latest batch of 866 test results.

Two senior schools transitioned to remote learning Wednesday, while students and staff at another school are required to quarantine until April 2, and at another institution, quarantine will continue until March 30.

Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said the last day of school before the Easter Break will be Friday, with students returning to classes as normal on April 12. The holiday had initially been scheduled to begin on April 1.

“We acknowledge that the rise in positive cases has disrupted our staffing levels as a result of teachers being ordered to quarantine during contact tracing. With this in mind, and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to move forward proactively,” he said

“Schools will be asked to send out learning packets for students to work on during the four days next week. We also will hold discussions with our union partners about the possibilities of making up those four days.”

Reporting on the island’s COVID-19 vaccination programme at a press conference on Tuesday night, Premier said if the present rate of vaccination continued, 50 per cent of the eligible population would have their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine before May 1.

“We can reach 70 per cent of the eligible population of Bermuda. Those persons who are over the age of 16 can receive both doses by June 1 if we continue at the pace we are,” he said.

“Having the majority of our population vaccinated gives the virus nowhere to go and it reduces transmission, which is significant. It is at this point we can truly begin our return to normal and significantly reduce restrictions. However, we must give ourselves the time we need to reach these goals by controlling the spread and continuing to follow guidelines.”

Burt said there was still “vaccine hesitancy”, but that had reduced as shots became more available.

Health Minister Kim Wilson said 20 percent of the island’s over-65 population had been immunized, along with 24 percent of people aged between 50 and 64.

A total of 34,204 doses of the vaccine have been administered between January 11 to Monday.

“These are excellent results so far, and I would like to thank all those who have taken the step to get their vaccination to protect themselves, their families and our community,” Minister Wilson said.

In all, Bermuda has recorded a total of 840 COVID-19 cases in the past 12 months, with 12 people dying from the disease.

CMC

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