School to Open, Teachers Want Back Pay

Minister Santia Bradshaw in a matter of fact delivery announced at a press briefing yesterday our school children will be returning to the classroom from the 20 April 2021. The expectation is for teachers to return on the 19 April, Class 3 and 4 at primary schools and fifth and sixth formers of secondary schools on the 20 April. The other students will benefit from classroom teaching 3 days and the other 2 days in online class room.

@Pedro Shepherd

It seems some teachers want to hear about monies docked in 2016 by former minister of education Ronald Jones. The following was received in the blogmaster’s inbox.

I understand the Ministry of Education is to pay back the money docked from teachers in 2016.

Teachers should have been informed about this. I would like the BUT to explain that to me today self. My money can’t afford to sleep out. I want back every cent of mine.

Mr. Shepherd and Ronald Jones were at war back then. I remember. People like me got caught up in it. By the time I recognised it was all a fight between them my pay was docked. Now they are friendsing in the DLP. But my money still tied up. 

Is your mouth tied up too, Mr. Shepherd? Right now you could talk chalk. I am not interested unless you tell me about my $350 first.

90 thoughts on “School to Open, Teachers Want Back Pay

  1. BUT against wholesale return to school
    Not all the decisions made regarding the phased reopening of schools next month will be supported by at least one of the teachers’ unions.
    President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd said they agreed that students taking the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE) or the Common Entrance and Caribbean Examination Council tests should have time extra time to prepare inperson.
    However, he said they did not think it was safe for all teachers and ancillary staff to return on April 19.
    “We were prepared to accept the return of the Class 4 students to take the Common Entrance and to have the fifth and sixth formers at the secondary level return and have their face-to-face sessions before their exams. Those were things we agreed on to some extent.
    “But to make the statement that all teachers should report to work on that day is not what the union was in support of. We were saying four to six weeks before the Common Entrance was a good time and that would put us around late May because the Common Entrance was slated for July,” Shepherd said.
    He made these comments yesterday after Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw delivered a post-Cabinet Ministerial Statement during a national press conference.
    Bradshaw announced that all teachers would return on April 19 and on April 20, Class 3, Class 4 and Fifth and Sixth form students would return. She, however, said they were not prepared to give a new date for the Common Entrance which was postponed from its usual May date and proposed for July 20.
    Shepherd, who supported the exam’s initial postponement, however, reiterated their stance that schools should not fully resume before
    September, by when more people would have received both vaccination shots. (TG)

    Source: Nation

  2. Vaccination programme extended
    The first phase of Barbados’ first-ever National Vaccine Programme has been extended so more of the country’s teaching complement can be vaccinated.
    Coordinator of the programme, Major David Clarke said on Wednesday that while a number of people were inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, the next two days would be used to continue vaccinations for the education sector.
    “We were able to vaccinate more than 1 500 teachers since last week but we are now waiting on a shortlist from the Ministry of Education for the sector, which will include teachers and auxiliary staff,” he said.
    He said that by weekend when those vaccinations are completed, the first phase of the programme would come to an end.
    Barbados started its vaccinations with AstraZeneca, a gift from the Government of India, early last month. So far, 61 781 people have been vaccinated – 25 751 men and 36 030 women. Clarke said in spite of the issues with long lines at vaccination centres where hundreds turned up to be inoculated, some without appointments, they were satisfied with
    how the programme as a whole had been completed.
    Some hesitancy
    “The programme has gone very well, when you look at how many Barbadians have been vaccinated. We did have our issues and there was some hesitancy at the beginning, but overall Barbadians’ acceptance of the need of the vaccine was seen,” he said.
    Clarke advised that individuals who were registered to get their first shot in this phase, but were not fortunate enough to be accommodated, would be prioritised when Barbados starts the second phase of the programme.
    He said their information was entered in the system and there would be no issues with getting them appointments once Barbados rolls out the second doses.
    Earlier this week, the programme’s other coordinator, Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand, confirmed that the second shots of AstraZeneca should start being administered around April 17 or just before.
    Barbados was originally scheduled to vaccinate around 50 000 people in the first phase, but the ability of public health officials to extract additional doses from the vials of the drug allowed the number to surpass 60 000 inoculations.

    Source: Nation

    • @Pacha

      At this point nothing. It just points to one of many latent issues that has the potential to disrupt and there is always the overlap between leaders in the BUT and other entities with the political class.

  3. Re March 26, 2021 5:14 AM
    “BUT against wholesale return to school
    Not all the decisions made regarding the phased reopening of schools next month will be supported by at least one of the teachers’ unions.
    President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd said they agreed that students taking the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE) or the Common Entrance and Caribbean Examination Council tests should have time extra time to prepare in person.
    However, he said they did not think it was safe for all teachers and ancillary staff to return on April 19.”

    @DavidBU the BUT or (perhaps only Pedro Shepherd himself) would really have to qualify it “not being safe”. The Govt of Barbados has EFFECTIVELY brought the pandemic under control using global standards short of achieving “herd immunity”. I’m not seeing a reasonable argument to delay the reopening of schools in some form if the date is April 19. Really the positivity rate would have to be going in the opposite direction to support Pedro Shepherd’s position

    • Everybody must take risks except the teachers. It seems they want the perfect scenario to obtain in order to return to work. The reality is that we will lose one year given the disruption and how covid has compromised teaching our children. Online is not the best.


  4. David

    Yes but should we not at least err on the side of caution given the known unknowns and the errors made by this and other governments.

  5. In my little town of a million people or so there has been 459 covid deaths 402 have been over the age of 70 add another 45 if from 60 years old ..From 1 to thirty years old we have had 0 deaths ..Any body else wondering what is going on. I will be honest it pisses me off teachers get the summer, christmas and easter off, professional development days off the week they start back that there pension plan is one of the biggest around, that they can hold kids for ransom like they are doing now ( the shit product they have been putting out for decades) . when the numbers and science dont back them up. I have more respect for the under paid cashiers, waitresses or front line staff etc that put their safety at risk to make sure we are fed and taken care of. Do what reagan did with the air traffic controllers ….you dont want to work piss off.

  6. @David
    In managing risks (as the Minister said) you avoid situation that are NOT NEEDED. Apart from those students taking exams, can anyone point to the NEED for all students to return in what will essentially be a hurried manner???

    I side with Pacha, no need, no rush. The year has been lost so plan properly to make sure that the coming year(s) ease the inevitable and unavoidable problems of the last one.

    And as far as I know, teachers have been working 9 to 3 and beyond the past few months albeit in a virtual environment and yes I confess, I got a horse in the derby so I hear from the horse’s mouth on these matters quite often. lol.

    Just observing

  7. @David

    We remember former BUT officers like Undene Whittaker and Pedro Shepherd who tried to get into Parliament. And point out who resigned to be Deputy Chief. Or who got put on boards like the last government put Shepherd at Rural. But point out the former ones from the BSTU too. Chief Education Officer Joy Adamsons is a former vice president of the BSTU. Deputy High Commissioner to London Rev. Charles Morris is a former BSTU vice president too.

  8. Yes but it seems the workers are the ones who have historically gotten the clap when their leaderships slept around with politics.


  9. @David
    Have we defined what the real fallout is? Is the solution the one being presented? Have we discussed the compounded fallout from pushing ahead as outlined given the fallout from last year already?

    Totally agree that a discussion needs to be had and it seems based on the unions and sentiment from educators that the problem lies there.

    For me, caution is avoiding what’s not needed until here is certainty. If it’s needed, then by all means take the risks. If not, hold strain.

    Now is a perfect time for real education reform but clearly we are making it a perfect time to advance or return to failed and failing normals.

    Just observing

    • @Observing

      Just heard on the 12:30 news preview that union will not be returning to school as outlined by the minister yesterday.

  10. Teachers, nurses and police, have to understand that they too are subjected to slave laws and slave codes. Their salaries are always an issue and in dispute, where months and months will pass when they don’t get paid among other serious grievances they are subjected to while minorities HAVE FREE ACCESS TO THEIR TAXES AND PENSION FUND…..this unjust disparity and inequity must end, for it to do so, the teachers, nurses and police will have to say….that’s it and hold black governments ACCOUNTABLE…civil society has all the power it needs to end this discrimination…REASSERT YOUR POWER AND TAKE BACK YOUR LIVES from these small island criminals..

  11. dont put teachers in the same bracket as nurses and police very insulting. and why is always a race issue .. Every few years the teachers hold our kids ransom, if you took your car to a garage and it came back with only 3 wheels you would be pissed off. Well thats what they are putting out 3 wheeled kids ,

  12. Observing,

    This is a good time for reform in general! The people of the world have had time to assess all systems and have found them wanting. They are finally ready for the initial discomfort of meaningful change.

    Why seek to rebuild using a fatally flawed design?

    Better to take the time to rebuild based on our evolved understanding of education!

    • Of concern is the discord which is apparent between key stakeholders in the system read the MOE and teacher’s unions. Where does the union of principals stamens? We need to stop!

  13. Lawson…ya mixing apples with oranges….Canada and Barbados…

    the people who BENEFIT FROM MONEY STOLEN FROM THE TREAURY AND PENSION FUND…are not Black, that’s why we have to SPECIFY who benefits….the ones who pay taxes work for the state and there is always some dispute about money or they are not getting paid…..always…the governement uses the same wicked tactics on teachers, police and nurses.

    no different to this never ending intent by dirty foreign companies who treat Black security guards like slaves and work overtime to find ways not to pay them…or give them any benefits….the narrative would be different if the island was not known as an enslaving society.

    “Less than four months after being accused of trampling on the rights of its employees, a popular security firm is being charged with using underhanded policies that would deny workers the full benefit of a new minimum wage.

    President of the G4S Secure Solutions division of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) Ormond Mayers on Thursday accused management of significantly slashing working hours to as little as 24 hours a week. As a result, he contended that workers, some of whom have over 20 years of service are now going home with as little as $200 per week at $8.79 an hour.

    In an interview with Barbados TODAY on Thursday, Mayers argued that the “unstable” working environment represents a sharp deviation from an agreement reached when Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Minister of Labour and Social Relations Colin Jordan chaired talks between G4S and the BWU late last year. Based on the agreement, workers’ hours could not be reduced to less than 40 per week.”

  14. That is scandalous 8.79 an hour. I bet teachers aint working for that . My cleaner is 35 cash an hour up here crazy.

  15. @Larson: “I bet teachers aint working for that.

    Please forgive me for this, but that statement tells me you don’t know for sure. There is a non-zero probability you are mapping a quantum uncertainty field around that statement.

    It has been well documented, the world over, that Teachers do what they do not because of the money (although a sustenance wage would be appreciated) but because they truly love what they do.

    Humans are finite in the temporal domain. Their influence, on the other hand, can live forever.

    E=mc^2 anyone…? 😎

  16. Good teachers in Barbados have secondary income from lessons. Probably much more in some cases than their base pay.

    Ten students twice a week at $30 per hour is $600 week.

    $2,400 extra a month is not bad for 8 hours more per week, in the pocket.

    And that is conservative.

  17. Chris okay waru was correct I may be mixing apples with oranges canada and barbados…The largest proffessional pension fund in canada is the ontario teachers union invested all over the world , you dont get that big without dues and the bigger the salaries the bigger the dues.
    The teachers in barbados I doubt are working for 8.79 an hour, to make that deduction you just have to look at what goes on in teacher unions around the world, Since barbados seems to copy everything from abroad why would you be any different
    I notice 1500 teachers have been vaccinated ?? have all frontline workers been
    What does a teacher make there am I wrong
    Gone are the days of the slide rule my friend the human brain may be finite but two thumbs and a phone can calculate pretty near anything you want, there I go again not knowing for sure.

  18. BSTU is more aggressive fighting for members than BUT. Do not blame the BUT alone. The BSTU said they are not in favour of going back to school and you can bet they are not going back. Therefore it cannot be a political issue where Mary Redman could be considered more aligned with this government. It is a safety issue

    • Redman has to go with the prevailing position of her membership, notwithstanding a personal position.

  19. Teachers are always under fire about vacation and lesson money.Most teachers do not do lessons for money.A teacher as a citizen has to pay heavily for all services rendered by technical persons from plumbers to mechanics and the charges are high. An electrician charges $130 per point, that means in half an hour he makes that money for putting on a switch.

  20. @Larson: “Gone are the days of the slide rule my friend the human brain may be finite but two thumbs and a phone can calculate pretty near anything you want…

    I hear you. I truly do.

    I tried hard to mentor a young person recently on how cool it was to code. The same young person was only interested in ensuring the new “kit” his parents were going to buy them had the latest GPU capable of 120 Hz refresh rate, and a monitor to match.

    I call it “The New Dark Ages”. Seriously. 8-(

  21. 130 a point I am moving to barbados lol. It isnt just a switch before the floor is poured look at all the conduit that is laid from the panel to that switch , but it is a good analogy the main difference being.. between the electrician and teacher is when you compare the finished products of each ….at least the light goes on in the electricians

  22. David
    You cant really believe that. For it would make Redman’s union a democratic organization. That has not been our experience.

  23. Union strongmen like Frank Walcott, Leroy Trotman etc were for all intents and purposes no less dictatorial than all the prime ministers we’ve had.

  24. DavidMarch 26, 2021 5:14 AM
    “But to make the statement that all teachers should report to work on that day is not what the union was in support of. We were saying four to six weeks before the Common Entrance was a good time and that would put us around late May because the Common Entrance was slated for July,” Shepherd said.”

    This just makes Pedro Shepherd position even less logical in light of the facts. What is the essential difference between a April 19/20 restart date and a Late May start when the positivity rate was going on a downward slope from mid February? Other aspects of the economy and the society have be RELAXED from lockdowns throughout Barbados in March 2021 and the positivity rate ONLY continued to go down. I would have thought the greater time between late April to July would be beneficial. I think the more useful discussion would be whether to even have the BSSCEE at all this year when the education system was crippled for 12 months.

    Let us not beat around the bush, there is obvious unnecessary politicking (politricking) going on here. I remembered when there was concerned about the silence from the Minister, the Ministry and the GOB regarding face to face teaching. The silence was most likely due to the “wait and see” approach regarding COVID-19 community spread. Now the “problem” is that it is not safe. THE TEACHERS UNIONS WOULD HAVE TO PRESENT A COMPELLING CASE TO FURTHER DELAY PARTIAL RESUMPTION OF FACE TO FACE TEACHING.

    • The positivity declining must have a relationship to reduced numbers from outside especially the UK? Also the question must be what physical and other prep work is required to secure the safety of all on the school compound.

  25. @DL&P_TV: “Let us not beat around the bush, there is obvious unnecessary politicking (politricking) going on here.

    I have learnt (the hard way) that politics matters.

    Something I heard on the BBC a few months ago which I hadn’t actually internalized (as a “non-breeder”) is how important it is for young people to interact in “meat space”.

    Those of us (read: the older folks) who have gone through that and are comfortable dealing with abstracted bits might not have any problem with this delta.

    But some of our young haven’t yet been taught that it doesn’t matter what your friend is doing right now (for example, playing a game). What matters is what one produces. Now.

    Sorry for being a bit extreme. I’m finding myself in that mode lately…

  26. @David, the union stance is as usual more political than practical to the good of their students and society overall….

    Alas none of the teachers’ groups (even up north) appear keen to get back into classrooms … we can surmise endlessly on the reasons.

    Two other quick notes…

    1.The matter of ***”Online is not the best”**** is understandable but yet there is much room for debate on how effective it CAN be in many cases.

    There are children who have surely THRIVED this last year … I am thinking of those who were introverted and-or bothered by bullies/peer pressure; those who were disruptive because they were buoyed by said peers and acted the ‘fool’s too often; those who were too distracted by pubescent issues and so on.

    One can only hope that this last year opens up the teaching/instruction model and allows more purposeful use of online teaching…

    One thing fah sure: the scenario of being suspended from school for bad behaviour is absolutely no longer a few days of chilling on de block… now yah backside gotta be in class by laptop. So at least that level of puerile mis-behaviour should be reduced, right . 😎🙈 NOT!

    And 2… off topic.

    Months ago you spoke of the vaccine purchase (or lack of) by the then admin and I retorted that it was a non issue as soon another 1 (J & J at the time) or 2 more pharma co’s would be on stream with their product and thus all requirements would be basically met…

    All that to say so here we are .. with a twist!

    A NYT’s report highlights that US will soon have 400 mil vaccines for there 330 approx pop … so how to manage the supposed looming surplus ?

    Or is there really a ‘surplus’ considering there may need to be a third (or for the J&J patients a 2nd) booster shot if these variants become prevalent ?

    But of course, not all US citizens will take the vaccine… with a likely 60% or 70% usage there definitely appears to be more vaccines than patients to inject in US.

    So will there now be more medical geo-politics with vaccines given to friendly nations … a task much, much easier to say on paper than actually to do smoothly !

    We are in for a lots of vaccine dramatics fah sure.

    I gone.

  27. @de pedantic Dribbler: Please understand that when you radiate into a channel you either introduce signal, or else you introduce noise.

    We claim here to want to solve the problems. But a low SNR doesn’t help that.

    Do you actually have a signal, Sir? Do you have a proposed solution?

    Or was that just noise the serious had to filter out? Amongst all the other noise the ‘Bots introduce.

    Perspiring minds would like to know. (Some won’t get that joke. But those who do will understand the heuristics.)

  28. Wuhloss…the Apes Hill clubhouse getting turned into offices, the fancy pools have all been removed, boy were those pools pretty….., the new owners don’t want anything like that……what a WASTE of taxpayers…NIS money that was…and nothing to show in return, the sellouts could’ve given the people their money, but no, give it to minority thieves let them waste it and pretend they are better than the people whose money they stole..

  29. Theo…for my comment, parliament sellouts and justin robinson took multimillions of NIS money and gave to crooked cow to build a clubhouse in Apes HIll, happened before they kicked him out…problem is the sellouts used Black people’s money….and they couldn’t even go to the clubhouse or anywhere near Apes Hill…but their money built fancy pools for racists to gload……the new owners removed all the glitter….NIS MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN…and people can’t get severance….

    mind you crooked cow don’t pay NIS for his employees…but he could dip into NIS funds, compliments of DBLP sellouts, a man just dropped dead on the job in his employ last year and there were no benefits to bury him but he worked for that savage for 30 years…..and of course the docile would see nothing wrong with that….

    violation of human rights and grand theft.

  30. Getting it together.
    It’s coming bacK.

    I noticed that Hal A is now missing and CH appeared.
    Could CH be HA in disguise?
    Absolutely brilliant.
    HA fooled everyone.
    It’s coming back..

  31. All knowledge is contested.

    Today former CDC director Redfield suggested that Covid infected humans months prior the previously understood timelines.

    That he does not believe the wet markets origin accepted in the West. This idea never made complete sense nor science. Redfield contends that the virus was developed in a lab. Which makes more sense given its destructiveness from jump street.

    The Chinese as far back as December 2019 were saying that the Americans knew patient naught and should give them access to this patient zero.

    The Americans will no doubt point to a lab in Wuhan. A lab partially funded by them. Whereas the Chinese point to American soldiers at army games in Wuhan as first infectious people in China.

    Redfield has again opened the possibility that biological warfare was at play.

  32. “The Americans will no doubt point to a lab in Wuhan. A lab partially funded by them. Whereas the Chinese point to American soldiers at army games in Wuhan as first infectious people in China.”

    🤣🤣😂😂 Pacha…others are saying UK did it…we just can’t make this up..

  33. @ TheOGazerts March 26, 2021 7:00 PM

    That’s the real ‘white’ Canadian by birth McCoy called “CH”, for sure.

    Our overseas correspondent from the back of the Ivy could never be in that kind of IT whiz-kid league.

    We are sure Chris H is quite au fait with his fellow ‘engineer’ Canadian-born the real black Elijah McCoy.

  34. @ David
    Why would a minister announce publicly that schools would be reopened without an agreement with the teachers’ unions?
    Why can’t we admit that the minister has been quite high handed dealing with the teachers unions in every single issue?
    We all want to get back to normal but is it wise to reopen the schools without full support from the teachers?
    Why does the minister feel that divide and rule is the best approach?
    But then plenty lies were told about our capabilities to truly deliver online teaching. At the end of the day, Jeff Broomes radio school on VOB demonstrated practical common sense without all the political PR and grand standing.
    The Minister of Education will join the long list of failures including her current boss who botched edutech and those failures include Jones.
    This whole episode is a fiasco. Of course the Public will blame the teachers as they have done since the 70s.

  35. Children don’t need no stupid teachers and they are perfectly capable of teaching themselves and their spars themselves
    As a matter of fact Children should be the ones teaching the so called teachers

    Roland Clark vs Roland Clark
    God vs The Machine

  36. Attached are Covid-19 charts for the week ending 26th March. The active cases charts show Jamaica continuing to expand explosively; Guyana trending slowly upward and the remaining 4 countries essentially maintaining trends established over the past several weeks, except for T&T showing a slight upward trend this week. Re. the Barbados positivity percentage chart; Barbados shows a clear downward trending over the past few weeks. We hope that this trend continues but caution that slight changes in official management could trigger significant changes in control – Source: Lyall Small

  37. BUT: Delay face-to-face classes until September
    Not so fast!
    That’s the position of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), whose president, Pedro Shepherd, is urging the Ministry of Education to put a hold on plans to return to face-to face-teaching from April 20.
    It is suggesting the ministry waits until September.
    Citing community spread, the closure and lack of thorough cleaning of schools – including Blackman and Gollop Primary School, which served as an isolation centre – teachers being fearful of contracting COVID-19 from minors who were exposed, and large numbers of students on the compound, Shepherd yesterday called on the ministry to address his members’ concerns.
    Speaking to members yesterday afternoon via the BUT’s YouTube channel, he said they had received “several calls” from concerned teachers following the announcement by Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw on Thursday that some students would be returning to the classroom next month.
    “Let it known that the Barbados Union of Teachers continues to hold fast to its statement and its recommendation which was placed on the table on Wednesday, when we met with the ministry, that September is the preferred date and safest period for the return of the face-to-face,” he said.
    He explained why September was the preferred date.
    “One, we took into consideration the fact that there is community spread in Barbados and the facts to date have not suggested that that is under control. We have not been made aware of the areas where there’s community spread. We’re not aware of the areas where the hotspots are in Barbados.
    “We also took into consideration there is a vaccination programme currently ongoing. Teachers are currently, this week, accessing vaccines. We were told that the vaccine is a two-dose or a two-jab vaccine, therefore if it is taken in March, early April, the second jab is ten weeks down the road. I know that teachers have June dates for the second jab.”
    He added: “We’re also told that after the second jab, there needs to be a few weeks before you get immunity. We heard last [Wednesday] night the minister stating that there is some level of immunity after the first jab; that seems to be new information coming to us. We always knew you had to take the second jab and it’s only at that time there’s some level of immunity.”
    The BUT boss also spoke of schools being abandoned over the Hilary term, with no thorough cleaning being done while ancillary staff complained of rodents “having a field day”.
    “Can we realistically have these schools ready by the 19th of April?” Shepherd asked.
    In relation to the Blackman and Gollop School, he said teachers expressed concern about the time given to have the school ready for the resumption of classes after being used as an isolation centre.
    “We’re told that persons hung their towels and their personals in the windows and so on so. The school has to have a full cleaning for it to be rendered safe, and that cleaning should also be supervised by someone from the school to guarantee, in their opinion, it is safe for staff to return.”
    Regarding the more than 100 isolated minors mentioned by health officials before, Shepherd said the possibility of teachers returning to an environment with people coming from homes where occupants either had COVID-19 or were still experiencing symptoms, was real.

    Source: Nation

  38. Doubts over plans for return to school
    By Colville Mounsey
    Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley is concerned that Government may have jumped the gun by a few weeks in the phased return of face-to-face classes next month.
    The Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP) also wants clarity on the data used by Government to determine that it is safe to return to school next term. It also wants more details on the plan to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infections among staff and students.
    Atherley told the Saturday Sun that with Barbados coming off a one-month lockdown in February, Government should have allowed for a little more time for a more accurate assessment of the effectiveness of the measure before deciding on schools.
    “Children are going to be travelling on public transportation to school and one must ask if they are protected from the virus or put in a position where they can transmit it. We have had a cluster case at a secondary school already, so I don’t know that you should move too hastily to put children back in school, although I do recognise that you have to make that decision at some point.
    “However, I believe that we have made that decision two or three weeks too early. We needed some time to really determine if the lockdown had worked well enough in bringing down the community spread,” he said.
    Too many unknowns
    President of BAMP, Dr Lynda Williams, said there were simply too many unknowns about Government’s plan for the reopening of schools. She added that without clarifying the details, it was difficult for the medical fraternity to determine if the decision was wise at this time.
    She also called for Government to declare the metrices that would decide whether schools should remain open if cases again begin to rise.
    “The only thing that I have seen is that they are making provisions for children who are sitting exams to return to school from April 20. If there are plans that go further than that, I have not seen them as yet. I cannot say as yet if the measures will work out as it all comes down to the phases of the rollout, the evaluation time.
    “We also have to establish what are the key metrices that we will look at in order to determine if we need to pull back. These are the kinds of key things that warrant further discussion, but quite frankly these are things that should have been stated up front. If we are doing something of this nature, we have to know how to measure it,” Williams stressed.
    In making the announcement on Thursday night at a post-Cabinet press conference, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw explained that with the online system fraught with challenges, placing several students well behind their stage of educational development, the return to face-to-face instructions was imperative.
    She said effective April 19, all teachers and ancillary staff will be required to return in person to their respective schools. On April 20, school resumes for Class 3 and Class 4 pupils in primary schools as well as fifth and sixth formers at secondary schools.
    Bradshaw said priority was being given to these students preparing for the Common Entrance Exam as well as secondary school students sitting the suite of Caribbean Examination Council subjects.
    However, Atherley said the ministry ought to consider having students repeat the academic year due to the inadequacies and challenges of the online learning approach that had been in effect since last March.
    “To miss a year of human development is going to be impactful and I believe that some sort of study or analysis has to be done on the likely effects on our children. I also think that those who are facing exams are put under additional pressure.
    “I wonder if it would not be wise to have children stay in school for an extra year so that they catch up on what they missed. I think that this should be a serious consideration; there is nothing wrong with adding on an extra year for what was lost,” he said.

    Source: Nation

  39. @William Skinner
    Couldn’t have said it better

    What “data” and “research” is being used by the Minister to declare teachers’ intentions and medical safety/protocols specific to school aged children? I have yet to see it.
    I note Dr. Williams’ comments “too many unknowns!”

    Just observing

    • @Observing

      Seems she is looking at declining positive cases and positivity rate, vaccination penetration of teachers, number of students being left behind in the online world, children in the lower economic bracket who depend on school meals to get a good daily meal AND the need to balance/manage risk given the consequences prevalence of the virus.

  40. My daughter went to BIMAP two years ago to do Occupational Health and Safety. She told me there were some people from the BUT in her class. I think that was the second group of them to do that course. I think Spencer decided they needed to take health and safety seriously back then. That was good on him because the union should be able to push back with those trained people.

  41. David BU of course it is political with Mr Shepherd who is a high ranking member of the Dems.As for Mr Franklyn it is als political in my view.I remember Mr Franklyn agitating for the nurses to strike at the height of the pandemic if their demands were not met as far as i saw it.This would have led to chaos in the country at the time..The proof of the pie is in the eating . Therefore both unions could put it to the vote where the majority will rule.Other frontline workers are on the job as we speak.The number one priority is the children, education and many have suffered for not having computers or tablets and need to catch up.Therefore i agree with Ms Bradshaw.

  42. In my mind if the present situation maintains (re COVID-19) there is nothing that can prevent schools partially restarting that is beyond what proper protocols can solve to address “safety issues”. In fact calculated risks can be taken as far as tourism and education is concerned. What is required is total discipline regarding the adherence to protocols. With the experience of 15 months of a global pandemic, 3 months of community spread, 2 months of lowering the positivity rate to ~2% and the Best Dos Santos restored, to the required capability of return test results in a more timely manner, Barbados can refine its reactions if there was any spike in cases.
    Other countries that have controlled COVID-19 spread, have allow certain previously restricted activities to resume in some manner once proper protocols have been implemented e.g. outdoor sports and partial attendance such sports.

    Re education, the more pertinent issue is with two out of three terms of the current school year gone, what can be realistically achieved in this third term to justify restarting at this point.

  43. @Disgusting
    “Re education, the more pertinent issue is with two out of three terms of the current school year gone, what can be realistically achieved in this third term to justify restarting at this point”

    Well said.

    Your reasons refer to the medical, the social, the financial and the technological. If we are talking schools then the educational reasons should be screaming loudest. Thus far, they are not.

    The Unions represent their members (1500 approx. combined). We have yet to see or hear what the Minister is using as her empirical evidence of teachers’ views on the matter.

    Just observing

    • @Observing

      The majority of students polled say they prefer face to face and they do not want to forego one year of their school life.

  44. Teachers docked pay got returned real fast..

    .DBLP governments are a major embarrassment.

    everyone must know them for what they are…

  45. In a related matter.

    $452m debt shock at UWI
    News that The University of the West Indies (UWI) has a growing debt related to its unfunded employee benefits, including pension liability, to the tune of BDS$452 million has shocked employees at the Cave Hill Campus.
    A spokesperson told the Sunday Sun that the Administration Technical Staff (ATS) had long expressed concern about the stability of the pension fund which is being managed by Guardian Insurance in Trinidad and Tobago.
    The disclosure of highly indebted fund was contained in The UWI’s Governance Report. It noted that the deficit which stood at TT$1.5 billion (BDS$452 million) as at July 2019, “can have a significant impact on solvency and therefore needs to be resolved”.
    The Chancellor’s Commission on Governance, which was appointed to review The UWI’s governance, noted that efforts were being made to reduce that liability, such as changing the formula and increasing retirement age.
    The report acknowledged that: “Reduction in benefits, however, is always challenging as this will require the support of employees.”
    The spokesperson for the ATS group said: “The university is on its knees.”
    ‘A lot of foolishness’
    He added: “This report is exposing a lot of foolishness right now and the university is indebted to the pension fund for workers at my level.”
    He explained that under the pension fund arrangement which had been placed for many years, the employee contributed a third to the fund while UWI paid two thirds.
    “This is part of the conditions of employment for employees at the ATS level. We do not get gratuity so that provides that at the end of our tenure we get this money as a lump sum.”
    He said employees sensed that the fund had been in financial trouble for some time because some who had retired had expressed difficulty in getting the money.
    “We have an agreement in principle that the university should take no more than two months after a person retires for that person to receive their superannuation. People have been complaining that they had to wait six months to a year to get their money. If they didn’t have financial issues the disbursement of funds would not take that long.
    “This report shows that in actual fact the fund is in limbo and the question has to be asked what the university do with the money?” the spokesperson said.
    Another employee, who was part of the management team, however, noted that the huge debt highlighted in the much publicised report might not necessarily be related to the Cave Hill Campus.
    The Sunday Sun was unable to reach Lisa Alleyne, the Campus Bursar, on this matter.

    Source: Nation

  46. This is an extremely difficult time to be in a leadership role in Barbados. ​All decisions are calculated risks and everyone has a calculator.

    If the government does or suggest nothing, criticisms are sure to follow. When it takes a stance, then others takes an opposing or slightly different stance.

    The situation is so fluid that positive probabilities can be assigned to different outcomes. It is like a coin where the government has a 70% chance of being correct. Do you know that even with a 30% chance or even with a 10% chance there is always the possibility that the coin toss can result in the less favorable outcome.

    Oppose and things turn out their way, they remind you daily of their brilliance. Oppose and things go in favor of the government, they disappear silently into the night.

  47. Sometimes enlightening, sometimes puzzling.
    This is puzzling:
    “Children don’t need no stupid teachers and they are perfectly capable of teaching themselves and their spars themselves
    As a matter of fact Children should be the ones teaching the so called teachers”

    Please elaborate

  48. “If the government does or suggest nothing, criticisms are sure to follow. When it takes a stance, then others takes an opposing or slightly different stance.”

    they brought that on themselves when they opted to maintain a slave society at the expense of the Black majority for 60 YEARS…

  49. I have one question only for the teachers – do any of you visit the supermarket?

    If so, there is a chance you can catch COVID there.

    There is also a chance that the supermarket workers can catch it.

    If you call the police to save your life from a stalker, would you expect them to show up?

    There is a chance that the policeman may catch the virus from the person he apprehends.

    Nurses and other health care professionals are also at risk not and not just in COVID times.

    Must community spread numbers be down to zero before you return to the classrooms?

    What happens in September if we have even one confirmed case a day?

    Are you aware that COVID is likely to be with the world for a while?

    I am certain that non-essential travel will be restarted with positivity rates higher than that which currently occurs in Barbados. We know how teachers love to travel. I hope I don’t see them travelling to even Canada in July!

    • @Donna

      When the time comes the government of Barbados can institute a fine – to mirror the UK – banning leisure travel.

  50. Stressed teachers seeking help
    TEACHERS are reaching out to the Ministry of Education for help coping with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as navigating the rigours of online learning.
    That was revealed by senior psychologist in the Student Services Department at the ministry, Juanita Brathwaite-Wharton, on yesterday’s Brass Tacks Sunday call-in programme on Starcom Network’s VOB 92.9FM.
    “In this last year we have had a number of teachers who have expressed significant concern and who have reached out to the ministry because they’re having, in particular, psychosocial and mental health challenges trying to grapple with all the dimensions of the pandemic just like everyone else. As you would imagine, it has to be extremely difficult trying to manage your home, your own children, as well as teach in the online environment,” she said.
    Brathwaite-Wharton said the support available to teachers was the same as for all public sector workers under the Employment Assistance Programme through Network Services. They also had to expand their Psychological Assistance Programme.
    “We work closely with our partner agency the Psychiatric Hospital, and even closer in this dispensation. We’ve had to reach out to them several times, the community psychiatrist, the child guidance clinic psychiatrist, as well as personnel at the Child Care Board,” she said.
    Brathwaite-Wharton said she was the lone psychologist in Student Services, with two social workers. The department also calls on a consultant family therapist, music therapist, other psychologists and psychiatrists.
    “There are lots of people who are dealing with anxiety. Parents who call and say the children are not sleeping. Sometimes we need to make referrals to the Psychiatric Hospital because people are going through some crisis or the other,” she added. ( RA)

    Source: Nation

  51. @et al
    The lady quoted in the article is probably lying , because teachers, according to some schools of thought, like what’s going on because it somehow works out for them as parents.
    We honestly try to stay away from discussion involving teachers because we know that at the end of the day, when the politicians frig up everything, the teachers will be blamed .
    This has been the strategy since the late sixties. It continues today because the lies and politicalization of that ministry by the BLPDLP have done more harm to the country and our children than can ever be imagined.
    There have been much political grandstanding and PR in recent months. Promises about technology that was either not delivered or delivered way below the quantities promised.
    However, we know that even without the trials and tribulations of COVID, many teachers and extremely young ones , have challenges with such ailments as high blood pressure and so on.
    This is years that teachers have been literally forced to work in sick schools. The records show that at least six or more developed different ailments leading to their deaths from working at one sick plant..It’s public knowledge , as we say : “ it was all over de papers”
    We know that the online teaching was going to be problematic for those from the lower economic groups. We know that those children , whose parents are working for $250 per week and below will suffer. Now, after months of bogus information and stupid political fashion shows,the truth has arrived.
    Now , we can blame the teachers and pretend that little Johnny is the victim because those wicked teachers , who have literally given their lives are benefiting from what is clearly a fiasco which they , the teachers, have been warning for months, was going to happen if the Minister and and McGuffies, in the ministry did not contact reality.
    We have no further comment to make at this time.
    But after the show is over…….,,..

  52. David
    A few days ago we tried telling you that now is not the time to rush to reopen too quickly.

    That in the government’s zeal to seek economy as soon as possible a calamity may result.

    Today the CDC, Biden, Fauci and others are reporting spikes in most states. The situation in most of Europe is not dissimilar.

    The virus is in firm control. No amount of forceful determination by anyone in circumstances where populations have not reached herd immunity will not bring economic benefits sought, only untold deaths.

    And it’s about time that Mugabe and the economic interests pushing this reckless desire to reopen come to understand that it is the virus, not them, which is in control.

  53. @David: “We wait it out until there is significant vaccination coverage of the population?

    Many think that would be ill-advised…

    Children need interaction for their development. With others within their own age-group.

    This helps the young learn that they are not unique. And do better by working together.

    It might slightly increase the risk of infection (of CV19 et al), but at least it pulls them away from their laptops, tablets, and phones.

    P.S. Perhaps have the Students surrender all electronic devices during classes.

    • @Chris

      The challenge is the fact many school children have to commute using public transportation. From observation the protocols are administered in a lose manner by that sector.

  54. @David: “The challenge is the fact many school children have to commute using public transportation. From observation the protocols are administered in a lose manner by that sector.

    OK. Copy you.

    What about the possibility students went to the school closest to them?

    When I was young I used to walk to school. Even when it was -40 degrees. Seriously.

  55. @David: “This is not a practical option in the current circumstance given our setup.

    I would ask why? But I know why…

    I have worked with parents who thought it was perfectly OK to take hours off work to transport their spawn all-around the island to avoid the Public Transport issue.

    Clearly, things need to be fixed. And, my statement stands…

    Most children need to attend school. IMHO, without their distractionary “Comms Kit”.

    Perhaps use it as an opportunity to teach the concept of a Faraday Cage…

  56. David
    Has Barbados not made this mistake a few weeks ago which was followed by a surge in cases leading to another shut down.

    This is happening almost everywhere. Chile, a country with a higher vaccination rate is also having this problem.

    How many times must we make this mistake before the corporatists will be brought to heel.

    • @PAcha

      Are you referring to the so-called super spreader caused allegedly by a bus crawl and the numbers infected at Dodds?

  57. “The challenge is the fact many school children have to commute using public transportation. From observation the protocols are administered in a lose manner by that sector.”

    @DavidBU but even then, as far as Barbados is concerned, we haven’t seen super spreader events resulting from the “loose adherence of protocols” in that sector. We must be pragmatic as far as this virus is concerned. It would affect ALL of society equally. Once community spread has been controlled in GREATER SOCIETY the biggest problem has been addressed. If clusters of cases arises a school can be shut down for a period just as single businesses have been closed and contact tracing be done. Education makes up part of the WIDER SOCIETY. if cases spike to an alarming extent for a prolonged period then the WHOLE SOCIETY would be subject to a “lockdown”.

    As far as i’m concern the delaying the start “BASED ON SAFETY ISSUES” specific to schools is a weak argument. Once proper protocols are put in place, the restart of schools can be done in a phased manner with COVID19 cases monitored during a phased approach. My opinion is that the TIMING of the restart is the greater issue to be regarded.

    • PM: Return best for students
      DESPITE CONTINUED CONCERNS raised by the teachers’ unions and some members of the medical fraternity, Government will not be backing down on its decision to restart physical classes come April 20.
      This was made clear by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who explained that while all concerns of the teachers and stakeholders will be taken under advisement, her administration will be sticking with the decision they believe to be in the best interest of the nation’s children.
      Speaking during a nationally televised press conference Wednesday night, Mottley reiterated the earlier concerns espoused by Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw regarding the effectiveness of online learning for the prolonged period.
      “I think that all sides have expressed their concerns and the matter was raised in Cabinet last week and we have determined that we have to start back school.
      “The greatest tragedy in all of this for me is the children. I spent seven years as Minister of Education and I cannot imagine what it is like for those kids, especially those who’ve gone into new schools and have not been able to settle. I know how hard it is for me to do work by Zoom every day, far less children who have to be in a class doing Zoom every day,” she said.
      The Prime Minister assured Barbadians that her administration was approaching the process quite carefully, noting that the safety of all involved was paramount.
      “I think we’ve heard the concerns with reference to calls for additional testing. We’ve heard about the need for ensuring greater safety. There’s nobody who wants more safety than us because we don’t want to see any increase in cases, but I think we are agreed that we have to go back to school and that we need to be able to do so in a safe manner,” Mottley said.
      “This is why not all 100 per cent of the school population is going back at the same time, but we are trying to do so in consultation with the teachers and with all the relevant persons, but at the end of the day the Government has to make decisions that is in the best interest of those kids and right now those kids have lost one year.”

      Source: Nation

    • Ministry getting all gear for staff and students
      PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, tents and church spaces are being secured for students and staff ahead of the reopening of schools on April 19.
      Acting Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson made that announcement yesterday during a tour of the Blackman and Gollop Primary School, which was recently decommissioned as a COVID-19 Isolation Facility.
      The senior education official said since Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw announced last month that staff would return on April 19 and Class 3, Class 4 as well as fifth and sixth form students would return on April 20, plans had been in train.
      “We have designated our education officers to three schools. They will be making contact with the principals and ensuring everything is in place as it relates to sanitising equipment and materials they will require. The principals, their staff and management teams are looking now to set up the rooms for the exam classes.
      “We have started to procure equipment and we will start distributing that to the primary schools. The secondary schools have started to do their procurement as it relates to extra sanitisers, alcohol, spray bottles and some persons are purchasing shields for the teachers,” Adamson said.
      When asked if all teachers desks would have protective shields installed on their desks, Adamson said although the idea was not ruled out, it was not currently in the budget.
      “That is an extra cost we hadn’t budgeted for but the cry was made for it and it is something we have to investigate but no final decision has been made on that,”she added.
      Adamson noted, however, that they were in talks with the Transport Board to coordinate transportation for students especially at some rural schools.
      She added that several measures which were implemented last year such as the school monitors, tents and churches would also be a feature this year.
      Full complement
      “We will make sure all the schools will have the full complement [of monitors] even if they only start with the class fours. We have training set up next Monday for any new ones coming on and we will be retraining and re-sensitising the ones we had before to assist with sanitising at primary, nursery and special schools.
      “And some schools are going back to the alternative sites at churches. We just have to get that list finalised so we will speak to the priests and the persons responsible. Some schools are looking to have tents so they can get all their children in and we have to collate that number and work to see how we can put the tents in place,” Adamson added.

      Source: Nation

  58. @DavidBU you can only be talking about the bus crawl. The prevailing “backstory” was that a prison officer was moonlighting doing security work at a villa in St James and caught Covid there .He would have brought it into Dodds and to the bus crawl (which was said to be organized and patronized by prison officers). However It was acknowledged that Gov’t slowness to react along with the Best Dos Santo lab being “compromised” is what really caused the cases to persist afterwards. It was a full month after those events that Govt eventually had to resort to a lockdown. I’m thinking that experience would have refined our perceptions to this virus and any reactions to clusters and “superspreader events”

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