Ministry of Education – The Berkeley Institute Update
The Chief Medical Officer has advised that the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU) of the Ministry of Health has become aware of a potential exposure at The Berkeley Institute to someone confirmed with COVID-19. The person confirmed with COVID-19 has been isolated.
The ESU is contacting confirmed close contacts who are being advised that they must quarantine (stay home and away from other activities) and be tested for COVID-19. The public health officers will complete a full assessment. Following the assessment, communication will be provided by the Ministry of Health on any further recommended public health measures such as quarantine and testing.
Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP said, “The Ministry of Education appreciates the cooperation of the Department of Health and The Berkeley Institute family. I would like to urge our students, teachers, parents and the general public to follow the procedures outlined in order to accurately provide updates to the Ministry of Health. We ask all our school families to wear masks, practice social distancing, wash your hands and keep your bubbles small. We all play a critical role in keeping our island safe.”
Ministry of Education – West Pembroke Primary School Update 10 December 2020
Based on an updated risk assessment and in response to potential exposure to COVID19 by the Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Officer has today directed that all West Pembroke P1 and P2 students and associated teachers be quarantined for 14 days. This means that they must stay home from school and other activities, for 14 days from 4th December 2020 until and including 18th December 2020 in response to potential exposure to COVID-19.
This also includes not attending birthday parties, extra-curricular activities, social engagements, other places of employment, public places, public transport, grocery stores, etc. Non-essential visitors must not enter the home. For children, the child’s main caregiver(s) and close contacts within the home (including brothers and sisters) must also remain at home.
Other household members who are able to separate (separate bedroom and bathroom, no common spaces) from the child within the home are not required to remain at home unless your child is experiencing COVID‐19 symptoms or has a positive COVID‐19 test. All public health guidelines must be followed by these other household members inside and outside of the home. This includes mask-wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing.
Minister of Education the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP added, “COVID-19 Testing Students and associated teachers must be tested for COVID-19. Please speak with your doctors about getting tested. Alternatively, the Ministry of Health is organizing special testing clinics on Friday, 11th December 2020 between 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Perot Post Office. Priority for testing will be given to students and associated teachers. The principal of West Pembroke primary will send a link for student and associated teacher’s testing appointments to be booked. Students must attend with a responsible adult who can consent to test on behalf of the child. The responsible adult must bring a valid, government-issued picture ID for themselves and if possible for the child that they are consenting for.”
Minister Rabain added, “The Ministry of Education and all the school communities and families within the Bermuda Public School System are grateful for all the work that the Ministry of Health nurses and staff have done to test, care and address the concerns of teachers.”
Minister Rabain further added “There has been some concern in the community about the letters from the Chief Medical Officer as it relates to instructions given to our school families. We have contacted Health and can reassure our BPSS families that the instructions given are unique to each school. The instructions and advice given are dependent on the data compiled from that school. For example, if one school is directed to test after 14 days and another school has not, this is not an error, it is the advice given after the Department of Health does its risk assessment of the individual school. We understand this is a stressful time, but we must continue to follow the advice given by the Department of Health.”
Ministry of Health Assessment and Further Advice: Once these test results are completed, the Ministry of Health will assess all test results. Negative test results by a particular child or family will not automatically mean release from quarantine. The Ministry of Health will inform the school and affected families on updates to the recommended public health measures.
Ministry of Education CedarBridge Updates 8 December 2020
Earlier tonight, we received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer who has directed that all students, teachers and staff of CedarBridge Academy School be quarantined for 14 days. This means that they must stay home from all activities, for 14 days from 4th December 2020 until and including 18th December 2020 in response to potential exposure to COVID-19.
The CMO stated “This includes not attending birthday parties, extra-curricular activities, social engagements, other places of employment, public places, public transport, grocery stores, etc. Non-essential visitors must not enter the home. For children, the child’s main caregiver(s) and close contacts within the home (including brothers and sisters) must also remain at home.
“Other household members who are able to separate (separate bedroom and bathroom, no common spaces) from the child within the home are not required to remain at home unless your child is experiencing COVID‐19 symptoms or has a positive COVID‐19 test. All public health guidelines must be followed by these other household members inside and outside of the home. This includes mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing. COVID-19 Student Testing – students must be tested for COVID-19. Staff and teachers have been tested as of 8th December 2020. Please speak with your doctors about getting tested.”
The Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP said, “While I understand the concern regarding the length of time it has taken to get this directive from Health, we understand the tremendous job they are doing to trace these COVID-19 cases. We are grateful to the Ministry of Health for the testing that has already taken place. Additionally, the Ministry of Health is organising special testing clinics, the first of which will be on the 9th December 2020 between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. at Perot Post office. Due to the number of CedarBridge Academy students requiring testing, multiple testing days will be arranged. The principal of CedarBridge Academy will contact the parent or guardian of a student to arrange their appointments. Students must attend with a responsible adult who can consent to testing on behalf of the child. The responsible adult must bring a valid, government-issued picture ID for themselves and if possible for the child that they are consenting for. I encourage full participation and compliance from everyone. I want the CedarBridge family to stay safe and well.”
Once these test results are completed, the Ministry of Health will assess all test results. Negative test results by a particular child or family will not automatically mean release from quarantine. The Ministry of Health will inform the affected families about updates to the recommended public health measures. If you have further questions concerning COVID‐19, consult your healthcare provider or contact firstname.lastname@example.org and all COVID 19 guidelines are available at https://www.gov.bm/coronavirus”
Ministry of Education Announce COVID-19 Developments at CedarBridge Academy
The Ministry of Health has confirmed a positive case of the COVID-19 virus at CedarBridge Academy. The Ministry of Education will now execute our new protocol when we are informed of a positive test result in a school and close the school until the Ministry of Health completes its risk assessment.
All students, teachers and staff of CedarBridge Academy are to be excluded from the school from Monday, 7th December, 2020 until further notice. Once further instructions are received from the Ministry of Health, we will provide an update.
All students should work on any current and outstanding assignments tomorrow as the school prepares to transition to remote learning on Tuesday, 8th December 2020 if that is deemed necessary.
All staff will use the day tomorrow to plan and to prepare for a transition to remote learning. Additional information on teaching, learning and services will be provided as soon as possible. The Ministry of Health will provide an update once they complete the risk assessment.
The Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain said, “We have instituted a new policy in the event of a confirmed positive test to assist the Department in mitigating and navigating the current increase in COVID-19 cases in our community and schools. As Bermuda has entered a new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic, our school communities are reminded to adhere strictly to public health guidelines. We will follow-up with our CBA family once we get an update from the Ministry of Health. I encourage CBA families to follow general public health guidelines until further information is received from the Ministry of Health.”
Ministry of Education Announce COVID-19 Developments at Clearwater
Bermuda’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Ayoola Oyinloye has today directed that all teachers, students and staff be excluded from school for the rest of this week.
In a letter to the school parents teachers and students, Dr. Oyinloye stated, “Based on an ongoing risk assessment by the Ministry of Health, and in accordance with the Public Health Act 1949 and the Public Health (COVID-19) Regulations 2020, the Chief Medical Officer has directed that all students, teachers and staff of Clearwater Middle School be excluded from school from today until and including Friday, 4th December 2020. This is in response to a potential exposure to COVID-19.”
Dr. Ayoola added, “At present, there are no restrictions on activities outside of the home. However, all household members must follow public health guidelines. This includes mask-wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing inside and outside of the home.”
Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP said, “The Clearwater Middle school family that has been impacted by the school closure are asked to continue following public health guidelines and advised to get tested for COVID-19. The CMO has informed the Clearwater Middle School community that testing of parents and siblings is available but teachers, students and staff are the priority. All students, teachers and staff of Clearwater Middle School should be tested for COVID-19. Testing of students can also be arranged through their physician. Testing of parents and siblings of students is available, however, students, teachers and staff are the priority. A special testing clinic has been arranged at Southside Testing Clinic by the Ministry of Health on Thursday, December 3rd from 1 to 4 p.m.”
Commissioner of Education, Mrs Kalmar Richards said: “Clearwater Middle School will remain closed through Friday, 4th December. As Bermuda has entered a new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic, our school communities are reminded to adhere strictly to public health guidelines. But the general public also has a role to play in minimising disruption to our students learning and keeping us all safe. I am grateful to the Health Department officials for their tireless efforts.”
Dellwood Middle School Remote Learning Plan To Be Implemented
Following the decision yesterday to stop in-class meetings at Dellwood Middle School, the Department of Education met today to start the process for implementing the school’s remote learning plan.
Formal remote learning will begin on Wednesday, 2 December 2020. Digital learning packets will be distributed starting on Monday. The Department is putting in place a plan to get printed packages to students who do not have access to electronic devices. Those students will be advised on how they will obtain their education materials together with the support they will receive with their learning.
Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP MP stated, “The remote learning plan ensures that all teachers have the devices and support they need to teach students. Likewise the Department of Education will work closely with the Principal to identify students who do not have access to the internet or an electronic device. We will ensure those students receive the printed learning packages and are able keep pace with their classes.
“The priority for the Department, Principal and teachers is to quickly put in place the teaching, learning and support services for the students. A counsellor and therapist will be available to help students with anxiety, stress and other feelings they may be experiencing through the transition. EAP will also be available for teachers and staff.
“The Principal and staff will keep parents and students updated through regular Zoom meetings and other communication tools. There will be parent, school advisors and year level meetings taking place in the coming days.”
Minister Rabain said, “Special COVID-19 testing took place today at Dellwood. I extend my appreciation to the Ministry of Health team who set up the testing at short notice and offer an apology to those who may have experienced challenges. Testing will continue at Dellwood tomorrow, Sunday, 29 November from 1pm – 5pm for students, teachers and staff of the school only.”
The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson, JP MP added, “I would like to thank all of the students, teachers and staff who attended today’s testing at Dellwood. I commend my Ministry of Health testing team for dealing with the incredible surge, including the lab staff who will be working feverishly into the night to process results.
“There was a minor administrative delay today in processing the testing paperwork at Dellwood. We will try to ensure there are no further delays going forward and apologize for any frustration caused. I would like to thank all involved for their participation and patience as we work to ensure that all is safe.
Dellwood Middle School to Temporarily Close for In-Person Classes
Earlier today, the Ministry of Education confirmed that a member of the Dellwood Middle School staff tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, and out of an abundance of caution, eight staff at Dellwood were instructed by the Ministry of Health to quarantine and as a result, were not in school today. Those in quarantine were subsequently tested and one additional member of staff has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Department of Health continues to follow a thorough, comprehensive, data-driven, and scientific approach for contact tracing and making decisions around who is required to quarantine. This morning, officers from the Department conducted a risk assessment at the Dellwood Middle School.
As a result of the risk assessment and the second positive case, the Ministry of Education, upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Health, has made the decision to temporarily stop in-person classes. Teachers and parents of students who attend the school have been notified by the Ministry of Education.
Guidance will be given by the Ministry of Health on when the school will reopen for in-person classes following a risk assessment and review of all the evidence.
To aid in that effort, the Ministry of Health has set up a special testing site for all teachers, students and staff to get tested. Testing will be available at Dellwood on Saturday, 28 November, from 2pm – 6pm and on Sunday, 29 November from 1pm – 5pm. This testing is for teachers, students and staff of Dellwood Middle School only.
The Ministry of Education will meet on Saturday and provide guidance to parents, teachers, and staff on the remote learning plan for Monday, 30 November. A further update will be provided to the public tomorrow.
Statement from the Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP
Sunday, November 22nd, 2020
Good evening Bermuda.
I will give you an update on the status of schools as there has been misinformation circulating in the community this weekend.
The Department of Health has directed principals that specific classes and staff have to quarantine at the following schools:
- St. George’s Prep – P2 Class and Specialist Teachers
- Paget Primary – ASD Classes and Specialist Teachers
- Creative Touch Nursery
The Department of Health has contacted parents and advised that if the siblings of students in the classes just mentioned at St. George’s Prep, Paget Primary or Creative Touch Nursery cannot be kept separate from each other, then they too must quarantine.
Each household situation is different: some siblings may need to quarantine, some may not need to quarantined and can attend school as normal.
The following action are and will be taken for schools that have classes quarantining:
- Principals are placing calls to affected staff and parents of affected students;
- A Department of Health letter has been sent to affected teachers and the parents of students;
- There are Zoom meetings with staff;
- Principals sent letters to staff;
- Specialist staff and students have been asked to get a COVID-19 test;
- Specialists are working with the substitute teachers coming in and are preparing for a Tuesday start; and
- Zoom meetings with parents will be conducted.
We are also taking the following actions within the schools:
- Classrooms are to be deep cleaned and then inspected;
- Substitute staff will be hired to cover;
- The Commissioner of Education will contact the EAP Director to get support for school staff;
- A plan will be establish early this week by Student Services for addressing student concerns.
What will happen tomorrow?
- Bermuda Public Schools will be open.
- They will continue with their entry screening and safety and health protocols.
- Staff and students must be diligent with following safety and health protocols.
We continue to partner with the Ministry of Health to ensure the safety and health of students, teachers and staff.
Stay safe. Wear a mask. Practice physical distancing.
Thank you have and have a good evening.