The Barbados government on Tuesday said that all classes will be fully online when the new school term begins on September 20.
“We believe, and after discussions this morning with the various representatives of the trade union movement, as well as the PTA’s (Parent Teacher Associations), we believe that the time has now come for us as we approach the start of the September term to go fully online,” Education Minister Santia Bradshaw said in a video statement.
“Therefore, I want to announce that all classes will begin for both students at the public and private schools on the 20th of September but they will now be fully online now,” she added.
The announcement comes as the island deals with a surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and some schools being used as isolation centers.
The authorities said on Tuesday that the number of people in isolation is 339 and Bradshaw said over 100 persons now in isolation across the various centers and that as the surge of COVID-19 cases continues more schools may be drafted to assist the Ministry of Health.
“In order to be able to get ahead of this particular virus, there may be other sites in the coming weeks that may have to be used. Some of our schools may have to be used.
“It is not a measure of first resort, but the truth of the matter is that many of our schools have in fact been upgraded and the bathroom facilities and showers lend to being able to be considered as an adequate facility to be able to host persons who may be sick.
“In the past few days, we’ve had to set up the Blackman and Gollop (schools) as an isolation facility and I know that there are some who believe that we shouldn’t be using these schools, but the truth of the matter is that this facility has been able to serve the Ministry of Health and Wellness well.
“In the past, we’ve been able to hand it back over to the school at the appropriate time, and I think the situation now warrants that we’re able to provide additional facilities for the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” Bradshaw added.