Video: Back To School Press Conference

September 2, 2022 | 0 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Education Diallo Rabain and Transport Minister Lawrence Scott are holding a press conference this morning [Sept 2] to discuss Back to School for the Academic Year 2022 – 2023. We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 21-minute replay is below

Update 3.25pm: Minister Rabain’s remarks:

Good Morning and Welcome,

I am joined by the Minister of Transport, the Hon. Lawrence Scott, to update parents, guardians, students, and the general public on the planning and preparations underway for the start of the 2022/23 school year. Today we will share information on the following:

  • 1. Commencement of school for Public School Students
  • 2. Pre-return COVID-19 Testing for Students
  • 3. The 2022/23 COVID-19 Guidelines for All Schools
  • 4. The launch of Signature Learning Programmes
  • 5. The Government’s $150 Relief Initiative
  • 6. Public Transportation for Students

Commencement of School for Public School Students

On Monday, September 12, 2022, we look forward to an exciting start to the 2022/23 academic year and safely returning to in-person learning. Yesterday, school principals, administrators, and staff returned to begin preparing classrooms and lesson plans and participating in professional learning activities. All students will return to in-person learning on September 12 except our Preschool students, who will have a staggered return to school over 3 days from September 12th to the 14th.

Pre-Return Testing

In alignment with the Department of Education’s COVID-19 Return to School Testing Policy, when students and staff are out of school for 5 days or longer, a negative certified antigen or PCR test is required as a prerequisite for returning to school buildings for in-class teaching and learning. We want to keep our school environment safe as possible for staff and students to minimise any potential disruption of learning caused by a COVID-19 breakout.

All students must have a certified negative result for COVID-19 – obtained within three days of returning to school, dated between September 9 and September 11, to return to school on September 12. As some pre-schools will have a staggered start, please note that your child’s negative test must be obtained a maximum of 3-days before their start date.

Testing Schedule for Students:

Based on feedback from our parents as a result of the previous return to school testing, I am pleased to announce to following updates

  • 1. Testing will be at 3 locations [Dalton E. Tucker Primary, Bermuda College, and Francis Patton Primary], and the hours of testing have been extended [10 am to 6 pm on Friday at Bda College; 10 am to 4 pm at all other locations and days; Bda College on Sunday only].
  • 2. PCR [Saliva] testing is on Friday only at all locations
  • 3. Certified Anti-Gen testing is at all locations on Saturday
  • 4. Certified Anti-Gen testing is at Bda College on Sunday
  • 5. Anyone returning to the island Saturday or Sunday can use their return test used to enter the island
  • 6. The process has an option to allow for Negative Results to be shared directly with the school

Appointments for testing above must be booked online at: schools.resqwest.com/web/, and testing is free for all students. Many parents have already booked appointments for their children, and the Saturday and Sunday time slots are filling up first. We look forward to all parents registering their children for a pre-return test.

Revised School COVID-19 Guidelines

As in-person learning remains the aim of all schools, the Ministry of Education invites schools, parents, and caregivers to work together to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Although many COVID regulations have been relaxed, we cannot move forward as if COVID is not still within our community.

As we commence the 2022/23 academic year, the Department of Education and Private Schools now have increased flexibility for their COVID-19 policies and procedures. Therefore, as required, they can introduce enhanced guidelines, policies, and practices appropriate to their system and school environments.

However, it must be noted that the Department of Education, Public and Private Schools are still subject to the Public Health Act 1949 and the Department of Health Guidance on Infection Control, Exclusion and Reporting of Health Events in Schools, Nurseries, and other Childcare Settings to reduce the spread of infectious diseases in school settings.

The Department of Education and Public and Private Schools also have obligations under the Occupational and Safety Health Act 1982 to ensure safe and healthy work environments for students, staff, and visitors.

The complete listing of guidelines can be found on our website www.moed.bm

Signature Learning Programmes For Our Senior Schools

Not only are we looking to return to school safely, but we are also on the countdown to the celebration for the launch of Signature Learning Programmes.

Beginning September 12, 2022, incoming S1 Students at The Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy will participate in Signature Learning Programmes. CedarBridge Academy will offer STEM and Trades and Professions, while The Berkeley Institute will offer Health and Social Care and Financial and Insurance Services.

Bermuda, this is the change you have been asking for.

To help our children follow their passions and interests, build on their talents and capabilities, and most importantly, help them to achieve their careers and further aspirations.

The Signature Learning Programmes have been built by us for us through engagement with teachers, students, parents, and business and community leaders.

We have created a vision for how we want learning to be: personalised, flexible, relevant, future-focused, inspiring, and authentically Bermudian. The differences you will see in the Signature Learning Programmes include:

  • A world-class curriculum that is relevant for our children, for Bermuda, and globally
  • A model of teaching and learning that incorporates authentic, real-world learning experiences and meaningful projects, attentive to the differing needs of each and every child
  • Assessments that demonstrate what your child has done can do, as well as what they have learned
  • Graduation requirements that ensure that children who leave with the Bermuda Signature School Diploma have the necessary experience, skills, knowledge, values, and relationships to take up jobs or apprenticeships in their chosen profession or trade and contribute to the requirements for entry into colleges and universities
  • System policies, procedures, and frameworks that will support and sustain 21st-century learning.

Learning such as this will create a generation of young people who are engaged, adaptive, entrepreneurial, innovative, culturally connected, and empowered.

We look forward to empowering our young people to develop the skills, knowledge, values, and relationships that will enable them to access – and be the creators of – the jobs of the future.

Young people who can compete locally and contribute globally.

This is a significant milestone in the reform of education in Bermuda and a further manifestation of this Government’s commitment to our young people.

Next week, you will begin to see banners throughout the City and along the roads leading to our two senior schools, videos, graphics, and more to celebrate the launch of our first time ever Signature Learning Programmes

We are finalising the details for the September 12 welcome celebrations and will share any planned activities with the public before the first day of school.

Government’s $150 Relief Initiative

This Government remains committed to ensuring that our families receive support and resources as we return to normalcy.

As a reminder, we are issuing a relief of $150, a one-time payment for each student enrolled in a government preschool, primary, middle or senior school.

As of today, September 2, parents are advised that they can log on to PowerSchool [bdamoed.powerschool.com] to apply for this relief. The application form will be launched this evening.

Instructions to Parents/Guardians

Instructions have been prepared and will be emailed to all parents and guardians using the email address parents have provided on file through PowerSchool.

The application form can be accessed from a laptop, computer, tablet, or phone using the Internet [not the PowerSchool App], The step-by-step instructions are very easy to follow.

It is important to note that an application is only considered complete after submitting the application form and emailing the banking confirmation/ID details to reliefdocs@moed.bm.

Along with a copy of an official Government photo ID. The instructions are provided for our parents to make the application process quick.

All applications will be subject to verification, and funds will be sent to your bank for deposit within 10 business days of submission of a completed application.

A list of frequently asked questions will also be sent to parents, should they have questions about the payment process or the Relief programme.

If parents have not already reset their PowerSchool account, they can do so by going to bdamoed.powerschool.com and using the ‘forgot password’ function. The re-setting of the PowerSchool account is critical to making an application for the $150 Relief.

The application for this Relief will be open for two months, from today until October 31st, so that all of our parents can access this financial support for families.

Conclusion

Bermuda, we look forward to the exciting changes that are happening to evolve education for our country and welcome you to continue to support our young people through their educational journey.

At this time, I would like to welcome the Minister of Transport to share details regarding Public Transportation for Students.

Thank you.

Minister Scott’s remarks:

Good morning members of the media,

As we learn to Live with Covid, the Department of Public Transportation [DPT] will transition back to the 2019 level of student transportation services. This means that students using public buses will see changes as they go to and from school.

Over the last two years, under an established COVID protocol, the DPT provided minibuses to transport students directly to and from school. Students were collected and dropped off at the nearest bus stop to their homes or destination.

In preparation for the start of the school year, we ask that parents, students and educators view or download the 2022/23 School Year Bus Schedule, which can be found on gov.bm/bus and will be posted in the schools.

With respect to the school transportation passes, the Ministry of Education will disseminate the passes to the students at the start of the school year. A grace period will be recognized to allow ample time for every student to obtain their pass.

Effective 12 September 2022, public buses will provide school bus service on weekday mornings and afternoons for the upcoming school year. The return of the pink and blue school bus service is a direct result of the thirty [30] electric buses added to the fleet earlier this year and the ongoing concentrated effort to recruit bus operators.

Even with the extra thirty buses, the DPT will not have the required eighty-eight [88] for the winter schedule. However, the Department will use minibuses to assist some of the school runs to compensate for the shortfall of resources. Once the electrification plan of the bus fleet is in its second year, it is anticipated that the public buses will resume full school bus service.

Currently, the DPT is operating with approximately sixty [60] buses daily. Since receiving the thirty [30] new buses, the Department has not seen mass cancellations like what was experienced last year. It will make every effort to ensure that the current level of public bus service, with little to no cancellations on most days, continues as we transition back to the pink and blue school bus service.

The Department looks forward to providing consistent and reliable service to ensure that our students commute safely.

For more information, contact the Department of Public Transportation at 292-3851 or email at info@dpt.bm

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