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Parents opting to educate children overseas due to school Covid restrictions – OBA

Ben Smith (File photograph)

Strict Covid-19 restrictions on schoolchildren are having a negative economic impact on Bermuda as parents opt to leave the island for more lenient jurisdictions, a senator has said.

Ben Smith, the Opposition Senate Leader, said during the last Senate session: “There is an economic impact because more people are making decisions to find another method of education so they are sending kids away to school earlier and leaving Bermuda to get education where potentially the restrictions are not the same. This is something that has to be highlighted.”

Mr Smith said the departments of health and education must urgently work towards giving schoolchildren some level of normalcy by reconsidering mask-wearing and social distancing mandates and other restrictions.

Schools remain in Phase 4 but Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, indicated on Monday during the Budget debate that an announcement on phases changes would be imminent. The minister is due to give a statement in the House on schools Covid-19 this morning.

Mr Smith continued: “We are approaching another school holiday, this is always the time that we get some information about how we will return to school but the hope is that some of the changes that have happened to the rest of the population will also be implemented in schools.

“As an example, we have raised gathering sizes to 200, we have people who are going to restaurants and being able to take their masks off when seated and being able to socialise when eating and drinking but we are still having our students sit for long periods of time in classrooms where they have been separated where they have hygiene rules and on top of it there is a testing regime.

“When you go to a restaurant, that regime is not necessary and you are able to sit in large groups and drink and eat for an extended period of time yet we are still putting these restrictions on our students.

“It is important that we have both the Department of Health and Education look at coming up with a solution for us to move this forward so that our students can look forward to some kind of normalcy. The impact is becoming significant.”

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Published March 25, 2022 at 9:23 am (Updated March 25, 2022 at 9:23 am)

Parents opting to educate children overseas due to school Covid restrictions – OBA

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