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Covid-19: public schools to stay open

Public schools will remain open as Bermuda prepares to do battle with Covid-19, the Government announced this afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said that the Government was “taking preventive and protective measures, working closely with the Department of Health, reviewing policies and guidance from the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention, and listening carefully to our school communities”.

She added: “Currently, there are no confirmed cases in Bermuda and our schools are in the preparation and preventive phase.

“Any decision to close a school or to dismiss specific classes will be taken after reviewing several factors, including the impact on community spread of Covid-19, impact on schools and impact on families.”

Bermuda High School for Girls announced earlier that it would be closing today after a pupil was screened for Covid-19 “as a precautionary measure” over the weekend.

But the spokeswoman said that the Department of Education had not been notified of “any specific situations” related to the virus in public schools, but that the Government would continue to get daily reports from the health ministry and principals.

She added: “Should there be a confirmed case in any of our schools — of students, staff, parents, or temporary visitors — families will be notified and decisions made according to CDC guidelines, following a risk assessment in coordination with the Department of Health.”

The spokeswoman said that preventive measures in place included daily monitoring of public school pupils and staff for absenteeism and illness, ramped up cleaning and disinfecting in common areas, and the suspension of field trips, sporting events and assemblies.

She added that the decision to keep public schools open “is based on science”.

The spokeswoman highlighted recommendations provided by the CDC on school closures that “short to medium closures do not impact the epi curve of Covid-19 or available healthcare measures”.

She said that the decision to close a school would ‘only be taken when specific conditions are identified by health professionals”.

The spokeswoman added: “The safety and security of our children and our community are our main focus and we are diligently working and monitoring the situation in the interest of Bermuda.”

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Published March 16, 2020 at 3:53 pm (Updated March 16, 2020 at 4:13 pm)

Covid-19: public schools to stay open

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