BU Covid Dash – Back to School Time

If we are to judge from recent events like cricket at Kensington Oval and political campaigning – supported by utterances from the Chief Medial Officer and Minister Kerri Symmonds –  the government is about to switch to a getting ‘back to normal’ mode. We must do all that is possible to address educating our children. Crop Over will fall in line.

Attached are charts for the week ending 4th Feb 2022.  The major takeaways may be that the R0 chart is continuing to trend downward, as is the daily cases chart and that the Death’s and total isolations charts are continuing to trend upwards.  These changes need to be monitored over the next couple of weeks to determine any changing or continuing trends. I’ve reposted the positivity chart as there seems to have been some recent interest in that statistic – Source: Lyall Small (Click image to see BU COVID 19 Updates page)

76 thoughts on “BU Covid Dash – Back to School Time

    • Barbados dodges severe third wave

      Article by Randy Bennett
      Published on
      February 4, 2022

      The expectation that thousands of persons would become sick due to the Omicron outbreak has not materialized.

      Chief Medical Officer (CMO) The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George delivered the welcomed news today, saying that the third wave of COVID-19 had not been as devastating as previously predicted.

      During a press conference on January 5, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best explained that modelling conducted by the University of the West Indies forecasted that in a worst case scenario Barbados could witness a wave lasting six to seven weeks with as many as 3500 cases per day and a total of 91 000 infections during the period.

      He pointed out that a best case scenario would see a shorter wave lasting just over four weeks with a maximum of 1500 cases per day and 23 000 cases in total.

      Dr Best said the high number of infected persons could possibly lead to a scenario where as much as 700 people were hospitalized.

      To date, Barbados’ highest number of positive cases for a single day is 923, which was recorded on January 25.

      Speaking to members of the media on the sidelines of a donation of equipment at the St Philip District Hospital this morning, Dr George said he was grateful the numbers had been much fewer than initially predicted.

      He said the Ministry of Health and Wellness was continuing to encourage persons to get booster shots as they had been proven to provide an additional protection, especially against the Omicron variant.

      “…Fortunately many persons haven’t had to be hospitalized. We believe that the course of illness is not as severe as the Delta and I think we will get through this. As I have been telling the population all the time this is our third wave and we have gotten through each wave and I expect that we will get through this wave also.

      “Although there has been significant community spread we certainly continue to analyze the data daily and we believe that we are in our fifth to sixth week of the Omicron outbreak and the predictions of thousands of people have not come through and that is comforting, but at the same time I think the message remains the same,” Dr George said.

      “We continue to do our internal modeling which is slightly different from UWI’s modeling but I don’t think that we will reach the numbers that have been predicted to the press. However, we can control this by simply having persons comply with what we ask. The major area of compliance we are asking is with booster doses because I am convinced that boosters add an added layer of protection with respect to preventing severe disease and severe outcomes.”

      The CMO also revealed that the ministry had boosted its testing capabilities with the addition of three new testing sites.

      Dr George said the testing laboratories at The Crane Resort, Bayview and ChemScreen, were now available to do both PCR and antigen testing.

      “With respect to how we move forward this cannot be a Government only response and therefore the private sector is certainly welcomed,” he said.

      Source: Nation


      Parents to take stand today for safe in-person return
      By Antoinette Connell antoinetteconnell@nationnews.com
      Protesting parents and teachers will assemble outside Government Headquarters today from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. calling on authorities to safely return children to in-person classes.
      The action by the group, Safely Open Schools Barbados, comes after a circulating petition garnered 900 signatures as of yesterday. Members say they fear the long-term effects on Barbados as some children without devices or the Internet are being left behind in the online classes.
      Last night, new Minister of Education Kay McConney appeared on television reiterating that the proposed February 21 date for inperson classes was on the cards.
      Prior to that, Caribbean economist Marla Dukharan, one of the spokespersons for the group agitating for the reopening of the schools, said a letter had been sent to Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley requesting an audience. She said they were fighting for all children and their parents, some of whom were either let go from jobs or quit in order to help with the online classes.
      “This is affecting a very broad segment of the population and I don’t think we realise how much people were being affected and how many were being affected. I think when we are told this date and another date and then it keeps getting pushed back, and then we are seeing other countries opening up, it really is kind of confusing.
      “Barbados is one of the most opened countries right now in terms of its COVID restrictions, yet the children are not able to go back to school. We felt this is not making sense. It is not consistent with the overall stance and we felt like we needed to ventilate the issue and ventilate the information,” she said.
      Dukharan, who started the petition, quoted United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres, who said schools should be the first thing opened and the last thing closed, adding education was the foundation on which Barbados was built following Independence.
      She said the UN emphasis was on opening up schools, “not fetes, not election campaign rallies, not cricket matches. Societies do not depend as much on those kinds of events as they do on an educated workforce and educated children”.
      She added: “That is what Barbados was built on when this country gained Independence. It is so shocking to me that this
      has diminished in importance, it seems. We have a situation here where for the past two years children have not been going to school. It varies but my children haven’t been in school for more than four or five months. Not everybody is able to work from home, not all jobs are amenable to that structure. I know women who have either lost their jobs or had to give up their jobs because they had to stay home and do online classes with their children.”
      Dukharan warned that what was happening now will have long-term effects on the children and on their earning potential.
      “The nation is going to be affected for a long time if you have skills gaps and learning gaps in the working population, and some of these kids will soon be in the working population. This is going to have serious near-term and long-term negative impact on children, on their families and it is going to have severe long-term implications for the socioeconomy of Barbados.
      “There isn’t enough information out there about how this is affecting children, how many kids are affected, how many families are affected and the long-term effects of this. This group came together because we are very, very motivated and passionate about getting all kids back to school,” she said.
      The group, formed recently, consists of professionals, including doctors, teachers and principals of public and private schools.
      Dukharan dismissed suggestions that the protest was all about the private schools.
      “That is so not true. The kids who are underprivileged are the ones most disaffected – they are the ones who need to be fought for the hardest, they are the ones who are being left behind more so than the children who have access to devices and have access to the Internet. They don’t have a voice,” she said.

      Source: Nation

    • Face-to-face classes still the goal for Feb 21

      EDUCATION OFFICIALS remain committed to a February 21 resumption of face-to-face classes.
      So said new Minister of Education Kay McConney in a televised statement last night.
      “It is with determined effort that we are collaborating across Government and will continue to engage all of the shareholders in our country’s educational success to make the move to the return to face-to-face school on that date a smooth one,” she said.
      Schools were scheduled to reopen on January 10, but this was pushed to January 24 following an increase in cases of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Former Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw subsequently announced the February date on the campaign trail the night before the January 19 General Election.
      McConney said the ministry has held five meetings with partners over a five-month period, and had yesterday extended an invitation to them to continue discussions over the next week, promising an update to the nation afterwards.
      “We recognise the need to ready all systems for the safe reopening of schools . . . . Our intention in the best interest of our children is the finalisation of the road map with a view to both public and private schools resuming face-to-face classes on February 21,” McConney
      Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, education and health officials have been developing the road map which outlines the physical requirements and support systems needed for the safest return to school.
      It was developed by the ministry in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, teachers of public and private schools, the Barbados Union of Teachers, Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union, the Association of Principals of Public Primary Schools, Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools and the National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations. (RA)

      Source: Nation

  1. @David
    “the government is about to switch to a getting ‘back to normal’ mode.”
    Yes indeed!!

    No choice after Independence, Christmas, Old Years AND Elections….. Hypocrites much would they be.
    Both the CMO and Symmonds are being disingenuous.

    They KNOW they have zero control over the community spread but they also KNOW they have/had to the money train flowing.

    Children and schools as usual have become the political and collateral damage.

    Just observing

    • @Hants

      Do you recall the demographic of the Cahill protesters? When the upper class starts to protest- Houston, we have a problem.

  2. There are now 169 people in isolation facilities and 12 280 in home isolation. No deaths were recorded and the death toll from the virus remains at 286.

  3. @ David,

    It seems that it is your bounden duty to link everything to DLP missed deeds like Cahill. Buh doan mine me. I jes mekkin sport. lol

    The Upper class want their children back in school. It is reasonable to expect that most Bajans want the same but some may not have bus fare to get to the protest.

    It is -16 C where I live and +24 C inside my living room. I am watching Bejing winter olympics.

  4. @ Hants
    “No Afican Bajans protesting ?”

    With the predicted influx of 80,000 migrants, plus members from their extended families according to Frau Mia. One can say this standard will soon become the norm.

    You should know how Bajan blacks are generally not permitted to hold demonstrations.

    I am certain our friend, Cuhdear Bajan, will be able to answer your question. She usually has an answer for everything.

    It’s not too difficult to assess what is happening in Barbados. Do some research on the numeric decline of the black African diaspora throughout South America. Several methods of mass genocide were employed to cull their numbers. This method was supplemented with the importation of millions of foreigners to gain a numerical advantage over black Africans.

    Mia must be aware of the history of the black diaspora in the “new world”. She is being encouraged to replicate this method of displacement which will accelerate the degradation of her own people for thirty pieces of silver.

    • You have resorted to despicable behaviour of telling lies. There is no reason to lie to discuss issues of the day.

  5. Let me say this loud.







    Take a read https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/math-pandemic-covid-19-death-to-case-ratio-us-0-9-yo-scerra-



    “Consideration for other medical conditions
    An important aspect to consider in the evaluation of deaths and hospitalizations would be the number of people with other relevant medical conditions, such as cancer, immunodeficiency disorders, etc.

    Unfortunately, this information is mostly missing in the CDC dataset.

    In the 228 deaths occurred in the age group 0-9 y/o only 7 individuals were explicitly reported as healthy (no other medical conditions) and only 9 were explicitly reported to have other medical conditions. In all other records, the information about the presence of other medical conditions is missing.

    2021 US Covid 19 Death-To-Case Ratio for Age Group 0-9 y/o.
    Finally, we calculate the US Covid 19 Death To case ratio in 2021 for the age group 0-9 y/o:

    Deaths: 228

    Cases: 1,558,386

    Death To Case Ratio: (228/1,558,386) = about 0.015% (146 per million)

    This means that for every million cases of Covid 19 in this age group in U.S., 146 died in 2021.

    2021 US Covid 19 Mortality Rate for Age Group 0-9 y/o.
    To help understand the risk in perspective, let’s also calculate the US Covid 19 mortality rate in 2021 for the age group 0-9 y/o:

    Deaths: 228

    Population size: 30,640,000

    Mortality rate: (228/30,640,000) = 0.0007% (7 per million)

    This means that for every 1 million children in U.S., 7 died of Covid 19 in 2021.

    We can compare this rate (0.0007%) with the overall mortality rate in US in 2021, which is about 0.1%, to have an idea of how lower the risk in this age group is.

    Final Considerations and Conclusion
    Based on the numbers calculated from the CDC dataset, Covid 19 is not a significant threat for infants and children.

    In 2021 (so far), for the age group 0-9 y/o, only 228 deaths occurred on a population of over 30 million.

    We know that this number also includes infants and children which had comorbidities, although the surveillance dataset that the CDC made available to the public is too incomplete to infer a proportion.

    To give you a term of comparison with the 228 deaths: according to the National Weather Service, around 270 people are struck by lightning each year in U.S. [4]

    Panicking over the possibility that a healthy infant or child in this age group would die of Covid 19 is about as irrational as the fear that you would be struck by lightning within a year.”

  7. On the subject of black bajans absent from the protest or lack of interest
    Don’t forget their are two Barbadoes
    Very noticeable yesterday was absence of police intrusion and intimidation
    A well played out scenario when blacks have use protest to get messages across
    BTW it would be of interest how long did it take for this group to get the permission to.protest and if the numbers allowed was in the way and manner of COVID protocols
    However back to why blacks shy away from protest
    A picture is worth a thousand words before and after

    • The march was given permission for 75 to march and from the actors highlighted the march was initiated by high end private schools where expats and minority children attend.

  8. Kammie
    Covid19 was NEVER an issue worthy of the kind of global response that we have seen. It was exploited (and created?) by the usual suspects of money-hungry demons that dominate this now doomed world of ours.
    From the very beginning it was clear that with a mortality rate of .05% it was about as serious as flu, traffic accidents or falling off a ladder, and deserved a commensurate response.
    Some of the already wealthiest demons on Earth were however, able to multiply their wealth many times, while the other 99.9% are now essentially broke …and about to become serfs.

  9. What about old people and those with NCDs?
    Boss, are you familiar with how life works?
    It is given to a man threescore and ten…. what did you think would happen afterwards (ie, after he becomes old…?)
    People who are ill have always had a higher predisposition to die before their allowed 70…..since time begun!!
    Nothing new so far…
    So what did you want to know about old and sick people again?

    • @Bush Tea

      The blogmaster had the inclination that a godfearing man like yourself would be partial to supporting health policy that protects the vulnerable.

  10. DavidFebruary 6, 2022 7:40 AM

    The march was given permission for 75 to march and from the actors highlighted the march was initiated by high end private schools where expats and minority children attend
    However the question of blacks lack of interest in organizing protest is one that needs addressing
    The simplistic answers given does not take into consideration intimidation or a system geared to push back black influence in areas of high regard seeing blacks as high risk mechanism which might derail govt policies
    Looking at the way the nurses are being treated or ignore one can observed that their is much govt interference that prohibits and intimidates other nurses from acting upon what is right in their support for the nurses
    Hence blacks know and understand that organized protest on their part would not gain much benefit while intimidation is at play to stop them

  11. I would not advicingly or otherwise tell Blackett what position to take on this issue yea or nay
    But one must becareful of a power setting precedent
    One which in the future can turn over much power to any leader to ammend the Constitution at will
    When the Constitution has already laid out defined laws to follow
    This issue is one of such in which a PM sets out to inject power and interpretation using the word “offer “to gain political power and support
    Needless to say the Constitution is legally written in language as a way forward for govt not to use political language as a sign of goodwill towards individuals groups or parties but as an aspect for the benevolence of the safety and security of all the people and country

  12. A health care system DOES protect the vulnerable.
    Is that what we are doing by destroying our children’s future?
    Of course the vulnerable should be protected. aggressively…!! But not at the expense of the young / innocent.

    In progressive (UNSELFISH) societies, the old and vulnerable actually make SACRIFICES for the young and the innocent…

  13. Gazzerts

    “Do you recall the demographic of the Cahill protesters? When the upper class starts to protest- Houston, we have a problem.”
    That problem would be solved with haste

  14. “They found bus fare to attend political meetings.”

    Some cannot catch a break. They get cuss if they stay home and accused of having no interest in the country. Go to a political meeting and that is also sin…

  15. TheOGazertsFebruary 6, 2022 8:50 AM

    “They found bus fare to attend political meetings.”

    Some cannot catch a break. They get cuss if they stay home and accused of having no interest in the country. Go to a political meeting and that is also sin…


    Which bus fare what?

    Look at the demographic at the DLP opening in Haggatt Hall in January.

    People come by cars.

    All de white people on Baystreet on foot.

    Clearly the upper class at the DLP meeting given their mode of transport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  16. We have to protect everyone Bush Tea.
    From what? Death? LOL ha ha ha …murda!!!

    You clearly drank the koolaid.
    Very likely chilled and sweetened with the ‘fear of Covid’.

    Remember David.
    Always check to make sure that what you are fleeing from, …is actually chasing you….

  17. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/medical/israel-s-rise-in-covid-deaths-is-an-important-lesson-for-the-uk-on-vaccines/ar-AATvo5U?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=W069

    “Israel is among the most highly vaccinated and boosted countries on the planet. [Yet] they are breaking daily records for Covid deaths”, tweeted Aaron Kheriaty, a professor of psychiatry who was recently fired by the University of California for refusing to abide by its vaccine mandate.”

    Too many missteps and egos afraid to accept erroneous decisions are being made. Rather than accept errors at the scientific and political levels they were allowed to continue. You now have the willingly vaccinated losing trust

  18. My opiniion
    Covid-19 is complicated.
    Was it a hoax? No
    Was it Y2K? No.
    Could it be that the “positive outcomes” we are observing is really due to the protective/preventive measures that were put in place to protect the general population? At this time, we can only guess at how bad things would be if these protections were not in place. (Cuhdear et al: please note the use of quotation marks with “positive outcomes”. They mean something).

    Covid-19 is complicated.

  19. 55% of Israel’s water is supplied by desal.

    The source is the sea into which all manner of runoff, wastewater and sewage goes.

    Floods increase the contamination and some gets through the treatment.

    Israel had floods just before cases surged.

    The UK’s rivers are riddled in sewage. This is the source of their drinking water.

    The UK’s problem will be smaller that Israel’s because rainfall is always flushing the rivers.

    Israel just perpetuates a vicious cycle, sewage into the sea, treatment, usage, then, sewage back into the sea.


    UK’s fate is determined by floods.

    Israel’s fate is determined by Israel, floods can make it worse but it’s their source of water that is the issue.

    Eventually after numerous reinfections from the water Israelis will become inured to the problem and a level of immunity will be acquired that never fully protects because of the constant reinfections.

    It will spread beyond the populations supplied by the 55% desal water into those who have no immunity in which it will be a killer.

    Hence the rise in deaths in Israel.



  20. The foolish man doesn’t even realise the vaccine doesn’t work!!

    It certainly isn’t going to stop him getting infected if she has been vaccinated.

  21. Besides, he is waiting on a bus possibly full of people some of whom may or may not be vaccinated.

    That guy seems drunk.

  22. Oistins I suspect ram off with the visitors.

    The vendors making a killing and the music licking down in the distance.

    No more COVID in Barbados!!

  23. Bajans seem to have figured out that ohmigod is not contagious and so long as the keep clear of the visitors, the chances of them getting it are slim.

  24. TheOGazerts; You said above “Covid-19 is complicated.”


    Yuh figured out what’s wrong with the vaccination data yet? How to explain occasional higher percentages of sick inmates in the fully vaccinated category than in the unvaccinated category? Not just here but overseas as well?

  25. Fix the hazards

    New BUT head says teachers ready to return to classroom
    by TRE GREAVES tregreaves@nationnews.com
    RETURNING TO FACE-TO-FACE teaching without fixing some of the infrastructural challenges at schools can have a detrimental impact, says newly-elected president of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Rudy Lovell.
    So although teachers are in favour of resuming in-person instructions, he said the Ministry of Education would also have to pay attention to fixing the hazardous situations that exist at many schools.
    “I want to reassure the public that teachers are willing to get back to classrooms for face-to-face instruction but when it is absolutely safe to do so. We are parents too, so we understand what parents are feeling. So we are calling on the Ministry of Education to continue the discussion for as long as it takes. We, however, are mindful that schools don’t exist in a vacuum and we can’t just return to schools and expect everything will be okay,” Lovell told the DAILY NATION yesterday.
    His comments came after the Safely Open Schools Barbados group staged a protest on Bay Street, St Michael, opposite Government Headquarters, on Saturday evening. The group has asked new Minister of Education Kay McConnney to stick to reopening schools on February 21.
    A meeting with the unions is set to take place tomorrow to discuss the issue.
    When asked about the hazards, Lovell knocked the ministry’s maintenance plans and said there were many issues at schools, including faulty windows.
    “There are some schools with windows and doors that can’t close and we know that to curtail COVID-19 you need proper ventilation. So we don’t want to be in a position where we are going back to school and lumping all the hazards together,” he added.
    He defeated Dwane Goddard by 244 votes to 63 on Saturday to become president. Lovell replaces former president Pedro Shepherd, who resigned on January 3 after he was nominated to contest the St Michael South East seat in the recent General Election, losing to former Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw.
    Lovell, who is the head of the Industrial and Technology Department at Grantley Adams Memorial School, has been a teacher for 21 years and a member of the BUT for 17.
    He served as a steward in the union, chairman of stewards in 2016, deputy general secretary, second vicepresident and first vice-president before his elevation as president.
    Lovell said he also wanted to provide more professional development opportunities for members and improve communication between the executive and membership.
    When asked how he planned to tackle the perception by some that the trade union movement was losing relevance, he said it was vital to take criticism and act on suggestions where possible.
    “As trade union leaders we need to be cognisant that we are carrying out the mandate of those persons who elected us, and to do that, we must have a greater dialogue with those individuals. The only way we can change the perception is by communicating with the members, hearing their views and implementing the suggestions which we can,” Lovell said.

    Source: Nation

  26. Getting back to normal means eating less junk food and getting more vitamin D circulating in our bodies to boost our immune systems (as I said from day one of the lockdown when they shut us in our homes during the prime hours of daylight when vitamin D production from sunlight on skin would be possible).

    From the Irish BioChem Engineer Ivor Cummins
    Wow – the Latest Vitamin D Study is Kinda Stunning! Viral Revelations
    Not one to miss – the latest Israeli Vitamin D status vs Covid Severity study is not only stunning, but agrees with the similar studies I featured in April 2020!

    Alternate link to the video in case the YT link is censored: odysee(DOT)com/@IvorCummins:f/wow-the-latest-vitamin-d-study-is-kinda:2

    The peer reviewed study “Pre-infection 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels and association with severity of COVID-19 illness” is posteds at: journals.plos(DOT)org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0263069




  28. Great article GM
    Thanks for reinforcing what has been obvious from the beginning.

    @ David
    “@Bush Tea …We have to protect the children too.”
    Clearly you have clothes on the line and you looking for rain… LOL

    Protect the children from what?
    Were we not saying all along that it was the old people who needed to be protected? …and that children had to be masked up in order to do so?
    If you force children to wrap their noses and mouths all day, why would you now be surprised that they get upper respiratory track infections?
    After two years of isolation, fear and insecurity, what do you think will be the outcomes for these poor children, when even PRE-pandemic, they were stressed beyond any previous generations?
    Now our teachers are sayin that they a’int going back to school unless the children take the experimental ‘vaccine’ …and that this is for the teachers protection.
    We going around in circles Boss….
    A clear sign of the blind leading the blind.

    Don’t be surprised if the REAL trouble start when we finally get details about the ongoing ‘vaccine’ trials….

  29. ‘All must be protected’
    If you think about that statement David, the folly of the Global response to Covid19 will become apparent.
    Do you have ANY idea of the complexity and BRILLIANCE of the human body? …and of the inter-related, collective systems of nature in general? … VERY FEW DO. (LOL ..and those that do, speak in ALL CAPS)
    The very IDEA that a bunch of shiitehounds from Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson are able to ‘intervene’ in this process to achieve positive outcomes at a global scale would be laughable …if it was not so blatantly and ridiculously outrageous.

    If you want protection, …see Green Monkey’s post above….or check Bushie privately..lol

    Those crooks are best known for high level scams – where they push dangerous drugs with high level PR, and make $$billions from susceptible BB’s. Then they voluntarily pay the $100million fines imposed by the FDA when they are caught.
    What protect what??!!
    That is like asking ac to ‘protect’ you in court with her legal acumen – if you were charges with a serious offense.

  30. GreenMonkey’s post assumes individuals have been managing their health situation before Covid. A healthy body as the presenter stated is created as a result of a routine.



  31. David
    Dr Douglin has the same problem as Bishop Atherley.
    Too sensible, practical and logical for the local brass b bureaucracy.
    He would never be a ‘MOST HONOURABLE’ …like the ‘covid bosses’ bout here that parrot The WHO and CDC (who are funded by the biggest crooks currently alive)… and change their minds every month…

  32. JohnFebruary 8, 2022 4:35 PM

    Brits got real problems with their water as I have been pointing out for months!!!


    Fix the water and fix COVID!!


    So if the water in Cambridgeshire can cause Diabetes because it is contaminated and the same principle as I have described is causing COVID, then we should see a period of flooding in the recent past.



  33. Protocols set for back to school
    Stories by MARIA BRADSHAW mariabradshaw@nationnews.com
    SCHOOLCHILDREN can now be as close as three feet apart when schools finally reopen for face-toface classes on February 21, instead of the required six-foot physical distance as stated in the COVID-19 protocols.
    In addition, both students and teachers will soon be subjected to random COVID-19 testing.
    These were among several measures which the Ministry of Education will be implementing for schools and which are contained in a draft document entitled: A Road Map For The Safe Reopening Of Schools In Barbados.
    Yesterday, new Minister of Education Kay McConney and key officials in the ministry, including Chief Education Officer Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, as well as Chief Medical Officer (CMO), The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George, met first with the principals’ and teachers’ unions, and then with teachers to inform them about the measures, some of which will be immediate and others to follow.
    In terms of the three-feet distance which many teachers questioned, George explained that it was part of the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
    “The CDC and PAHO guidelines are three feet and that is going to apply with all schools,” he said. “There was at one time where we didn’t have much information and we were at six feet, and this changed overtime as we had more information. This is generated by our public health partners UNICEF, PAHO, CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency), that the schools can operate in a three-feet environment.”
    However, he pointed out that if a school “had the internal space to go beyond that type of arrangement, we certainly don’t have any objections to that”.
    In terms of random testing, George advised it would be on hold until less invasive testing kits become available.
    He told the teachers: “Random testing is not off the table and the ministry has invested a lot of resources to get the appropriate testing to Barbados. Once those are here we have indicated we would start the training of individuals . . . but it’s not off the table.
    “We have invested too much funding in this, but we realise that nasopharyngeal swabs are not ideal in a school environment – it is too invasive and we have gotten the specs for the nasal swab which has less sensitivity and specificity and we would be using those as soon as they become available.”
    Addressing concerns about having face-to-face school amidst the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19, he stated “our metrics are trending downwards”.
    The CMO noted that schools were lagging behind and PAHO had indicated that the return to the classroom should not be impeded at this time.
    No vaccine mandate
    George said while a vaccine mandate was no longer being made a requirement, Government was still trying to source vaccines for young children in nursery and primary schools, and “for secondary schools we have asked the Ministry
    of Education to expand their programme to make sure that all persons on the school plant understand the importance of immunisation”.
    He revealed that only 65 per cent of the teacher complement had been vaccinated and the ministry wanted that number go up to between 85 and 90 per cent.
    Both he and McConney stressed that masks should be worn, sanitisation stations placed throughout the schools, and if anyone fell ill while at school, they should leave the premises. Also, people should not attend school if they were feeling unwell and those exposed to the virus should stay home and get tested.
    In addition, they said children who test positive will have to produce a medical certificate to return to school.
    McConney, in her opening remarks, sought to allay concerns expressed by the unions regarding the conduct of the meetings.
    “I want to make it clear this is a conversation with partners which we believe need to be included in the conversation about how best schools can be reopened. This is not an intention on my part or on the part of the ministry, or on the part of the Government, to in any way, form or fashion seek to overstep any unions in which many of you are members.
    “It is not any intention for us to do any divide and conquer as some have sought to suggest . . . . It is simply us coming together to have a conversation in which you are being included to help us plan the best way forward.”
    Come February 21, reception, nursery, special schools, Infants A and B and Class 4 primary pupils, as well as Forms 1, 4, 5 and 6 at secondary schools will return to the classrooms. This will be assessed and the following week they will be joined by Classes 1, 2 and 3 in the primary schools, and second and third formers at secondary schools.
    School will start at 8:45 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.

    Source: Nation

  34. JohnJanuary 3, 2022 10:01 AM

    Next Country after Brazil and Israel to see a COVID surge I reckon will be Malaysia.

    Expect it will start mid January.



    Yet one more of my many spot on predictions on COVID has sadly, but inevitably, come to pass!!

    Looks like January 15-18 is when cases in Malaysia started to rise.

    If the ground dries out and no more floods, should start to plateau in a week or two given what has happened in other countries.


  35. Schools ‘not fit’ for class
    The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) wants the reopening of schools to be delayed by two weeks.
    Yesterday, following a three-hour meeting, BUT president Rudy Lovell told the Weekend Nation the union did not think it was safe to reopen schools for face-to-face classes on February 21.
    He said the members voted on the position and the majority agreed that the scheduled date was too soon.
    “We are not comfortable with a return to school at this time, given the existing circumstances, along with the fact that we believe that remedial work still needs to be done on the school plants.”
    Lovell said the schools were reviewed and, based on the structural conditions of the plants, they were not fit to facilitate a safe face-to-face environment.
    “Each school has a health and safety committee and that committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that all the necessary protocols and equipment are on the school compound. So they would indicate to the ministry and the principal of the school there is remedial work required to have a safe opening.
    Reason for delay
    “So, essentially, the delay is to ensure the safety of the students and the occupants of the school plant, not only the teachers, [for example], if you have any schools that have windows that can’t open because you need ventilation to alleviate the Omicron variant’s high contagious nature,” he said.
    “So we are saying, try to rectify those issues first and then let us come back to the table. We are aware that everything can’t be done but at least address some of the issues.”
    He added that bathroom facilities were also of concern as those facilities at several schools were not functioning.
    Lovell, who did not want to go into details about the suggestions his union intends to put forward to representatives of the Ministry of Education in a meeting today, said the BUT had the support of The Group of Concerned Parents of Barbados and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union.
    After the meeting, some teachers who did not want to be identified said there were multiple issues they had with the resumption of classes, adding that they felt as though the Ministry of Education was “bullying” them into accepting the terms of their road map to “rush” and reopen schools.
    The concerns which the teachers said were raised in the meeting included:
    • What was the appropriate distance for physical distancing – three feet or six feet.
    • Whether the Ministry of Education would supply teachers and students with KN95 masks because health officials have deemed that cloth masks do not provide the best protection.
    • The COVID-19 positivity rate was too high and they feared it would soar once face-to-face classes resume.
    • Issues relating to teachers
    who were also parents and their ability to look after their wards.
    • The proposed time to end school – 3 p.m.
    or 2 p.m.
    • Whether random testing would be mandatory.
    On Monday, Minister of Education Kay McConney and other education and health officials met with the principals, unions and teachers in separate meetings and told them that the ministry was going ahead with plans for the opening of schools, with one set of students returning on February 21 and the remainder a week later.
    The ministry said that apart from enforcement of COVID-19 protocols, students would now be able to stand three feet apart as recommended by international health agencies.
    Several groups have also been calling for the reopening of schools. (SB)

    Source: Nation

  36. All the truckers need to do if push come to shove is to go home and don’t drive their trucks.

    Same result.

    Yes scabs can be found but trucks are hard to come by!!

The blogmaster dares you to join the discussion.