Big business funds fast coronavirus tests for schools
International businesses have donated $281,000 to buy fast coronavirus tests for public schools.
The money will be used to buy more than 99,000 lateral flow test kits, which allow users to test themselves for the coronavirus and give results inside 15 to 30 minutes.
The cash came from 36 member companies of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, the Association of Bermuda International Companies and Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers.
Patrick Tannock, the chairman of Abic, said the organisation was happy to do whatever they could to support pupils’ safe return to public schools.
He added: "School attendance and classroom learning is critical to the success of our students and the provision of regular lateral flow testing will allow for our children to return and remain in the classroom.“
Mr Tannock said: “Abic’s mission is to promote and preserve a sound business environment for international business and the community.
“We recognise the impact of Covid-19 on the Bermuda community, particularly on parents and students, and believe that the provision of lateral flow tests will support the safe return of teachers and students.”
Marc Grandisson, the chairman of Abir, added: “Abir member companies, as Bermuda’s leading international insurers and reinsurers, are committed to Bermuda and Bermudian families and we appreciate the toll the pandemic has taken on young people, their parents and guardians, and their teachers.
“We strongly support Minister Rabain’s efforts to ensure a safe reopening of Bermuda’s public schools.”
Sylvia Oliveira, the chairwoman of Biltir, said that the closure of public schools had a “detrimental effect” on many families.
She added: “I am very proud that our members, alongside our colleagues in the international business sector, responded quickly and generously to help this important initiative.”
Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, thanked the companies for supporting “the safety and health of our students and school staff”.
He added: “Bermuda works best when we all come together to support our students and their education.
“The addition of lateral flow tests to our current Covid mitigation strategy and screening programme will help to keep our schools safe and, more importantly, help to reduce the amount of time students potentially spend away from in-person learning.”
Mr Rabain confirmed last Friday that public school pupils and staff would undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing when they returned to school from this week’s school break.