The following Op-Ed was released today by One Bermuda Alliance Senate Leader, Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of Education…

Today, public schools opened its doors virtually for the new academic year. It was abysmal for the Department of Education to inform parents of this just 48 hours ago. It is simply unacceptable.  

Parents are now left feeling blindsided and scrambling to accommodate this last-minute decision. 

Yes we are in unprecedented times, but this could have been handled better. For many parents this will mean they will have to stay home from work.  What impact will this have for their finances if they are unable to work from home? 

What provisions will be put into place for families who only have access to one device yet have more than one school-aged child at home? 

This decision is leaving parents scrambling. The number of positive cases didn’t rise overnight. This decision could have been taken last week to give parents a little more time. 

Inevitably, we need to have a sustainable plan for returning to school. While a number of public school parents are hesitant to give consent for their children to be tested in school, the time has come for them to reconsider. Where is the harm in allowing their students to participate if by doing so will protect their well-being, and ultimately help them to remain in school. Isn’t that what parents ultimately want? For life to return to normal, both in and outside of the classroom? 

Teachers should be tested rigorously as well. The testing for both students and teachers is needed so that we can prevent outbreaks as much as possible and return our children to the form of education they prefer. We do not know what the impact has been on the students over the last two years and what impact this will have on their future we need a solution to get our students back to school.