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Somersfield school board takes aim at Covid-19 restrictions

Covid-19 concerns: Somersfield Academy in Devonshire (File photograph)

A private school hit out at classroom Covid-19 restrictions and branded them “conservative and contradictory”.

The board of Somersfield Academy in Devonshire said schools and families were “struggling” to cope with quarantine measures and appealed for rethink on the rules.

The board said in a letter to staff and pupils: “The regulations applicable for Bermuda schools remain more conservative than many places in the world.

“At Somersfield, we currently have two children's house classes that are under government-mandated quarantine periods due to a cluster of positive cases in those classrooms.

“The families of these, our youngest learners, are again struggling to manage their work, childcare and home life obligations as a result.”

The letter added: “The board of directors, school leadership and staff are all very frustrated by the ongoing application of such strict quarantine rules.

“We recognise the impact this is having on wellbeing and education for every child in school in Bermuda.

“It is a monumental task to stay on top of changing and sometimes contradictory rules while trying to educate and operate the school.”

The letter said Peter Howe, the head of school, was in regular contact with the Government and the school surveillance unit to ask for “an easing of protocols with the commitment to continued antigen testing”.

It added: “For example, we have requested a shorter quarantine period for the classes currently under quarantine, in consideration of our robust antigen testing programme.

“However, the position of the Ministry of Health on this matter is clear. While exceptionally frustrating, we are mandated by law to follow their directions as are you as parents.

“Simply put, it is illegal to break quarantine directives and to do so could lead to sanctions across the whole school.”

The board highlighted that vaccination, antiviral drugs and the mutation of the coronavirus had allowed many countries to ease restrictions imposed in the early stages of the pandemic.

Diallo Rabain, the education minister, said earlier this week that the coronavirus rules were not set in stone.

He added: “We have made changes in the quarantine policy two weeks ago and I believe they are valid.

“We believe they are sufficient for what we need to do and that is to keep our schools safe and keep them open.

“The quarantine rules that are currently in place are being reviewed constantly and they could be reviewed in short order, or they could stay in place.”

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Published March 14, 2022 at 8:32 am (Updated March 14, 2022 at 8:32 am)

Somersfield school board takes aim at Covid-19 restrictions

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