‘No fixed date’ for reopening of schools
Parents and pupils were told yesterday that there was still “no fixed date” for schools to reopen.
However, Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, said that staff were preparing buildings for children's' return to the classroom.
He added: “Technical officers in the Department of Education, led by the Commissioner of Education, have had several planning meetings preparing for the reopening of schools.
“Department staff are working closely with Ministry of Health representatives, who have provided extensive guidance and technical support on health and safety protocols that must be implemented when schools reopen.”
Mr Rabain highlighted the efforts of principals, teachers and staff who delivered remote learning for pupils and said that assemblies and meetings were being held through the internet on communications service Zoom.
He added: “Teachers are delivering lessons in real time. They are also sharing pre-recorded lessons and providing a variety of stimulating activities for all subject areas, including science experiments.”
Mr Rabain said that professional services firm PwC had donated 90 laptops for teachers and the Bank of Bermuda Foundation provided about $34,000 worth of laptops for pupils and staff.
He added that Frank Amaral, the chief executive officer of One Communications, contacted CedarBridge Academy and offered free wi-fi hotspots to pupils without internet so that they could benefit from remote learning.
Mr Rabain said that a “Lighthouse Connect” fund will be launched by Bermuda-based Legal & General Reinsurance to raise funds to buy laptops for public school pupils.
He said: “Legal & General have already provided an initial contribution to the funds. The laptops will be procured in stages as funds are raised and the distribution of laptops will then be managed by the Mirrors Programme in conjunction with the Department of Education.”
Mr Rabain added that some high school diploma requirements for this year were amended because of the disruption caused by Covid-19.
He said: “I have agreed that the minimum requirement for community service, co-curricular activities, and work experience will be waived where normally applicable.
“All other graduation requirements will remain in place. That is, for both the Bermuda School Diploma and the Bermuda Alternative School Diploma, students must still meet the minimum requirements for course credits, the grade point average, and school attendance.
“The revisions to the diploma requirements apply only to those criteria impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
“I am satisfied that the revisions are reasonable and will not compromise the academic standard or currency of each diploma.”
Mr Rabain said that “creative and innovative” online activities at Bermuda College included “virtual science labs and field trips, culinary arts students conducting labs in their own kitchens supported virtually by their instructors, and Zoom lectures, group discussions and musical performances”.
He added that there would be no commencement ceremony for new Bermuda College graduates.
However, he said: “There will be a celebration for the class of 2020 at a future date.”
Mr Rabain added arrangements would be made for students to collect certificates, diplomas and associate degrees on May 28.
• To view the education minister's statement in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”