Bermuda’s public bus service is in fact back in service on ‘Back to School’ day with mini bus service to support the school run.

The Department of Public Transportation (DPT) had initially stated that buses would be back on the road on Wednesday. That turned out not to be the case due to low hanging communication cables.

Speaking a news briefing on Wednesday, Education Minister Diallo Rabain said when the school bell rings, the island’s 5,000 public school students will be introduced to the new entry screening process as a result of COVID-19.

“All students are to report to school in uniform, at 8:30 am, ready to participate in the entry screening, which involves taking temperatures and responding to four COVID-19 questions.”

The Minister also stated that staff from the Department of Education’s Facilities section, the Ministry of Public Works Estates section,” as well as school principals and custodians, carried out assessments of school buildings post-Hurricane Paulette”.

Overall, he said he was “pleased to report that our school buildings fared the hurricane well”.

“There was power loss, water seepage at some schools and debris was found on the school grounds, but all in all, there was no significant damage to our school buildings.  Also, some schools still need to have the grass cut, debris removed, but this will not impact tomorrow’s opening of schools.”

Staff from Agriculture and Parks; Public Works; and school custodians also worked to address hurricane related issues “so that our schools are ready to receive our children”.

Photo: TNN

The Minister also appealed to Bermuda’s motoring public to exercise “extra care” and caution in school zones, but most importantly he appealed to motorists “use patience”.

“I am making this one request of commuters in the morning and afternoon, and that is to use patience and caution in our school zones,” said Mr Rabain.

“Schools will be fully operational, and there will be congestion in the areas. I am encouraging the public to use extra care in these areas, especially since we have implemented new safety and health entry procedures at all public schools across the island.  The public needs to be aware that ALL schools:…pre, primary, middle and senior, will open at 8:30am.  We are advising additional caution in the areas that have two schools.

“One such an example is Northlands Primary School and the Berkeley Institute.  Commuters are advised that there is likely to be a a high volume of traffic on Berkeley Road in Pembroke between the hours of 8:00 and 9:15 am on weekdays.

“Parents have also been asking about the bus schedule; it is being continuously updated and can be viewed at www.gov.bm/bus.

“I want to take this time to thank our Facilities staff, the Custodians and those from the Ministry of Works. They worked incredibly hard pre-hurricane to ensure our schools didn’t suffer any significant damage.  They have also worked very hard and under tremendous pressure, post-hurricane to have our schools repaired and cleaned to be ready to accept our students.

“I would also like to thank our Educators who have also done the hard work necessary to prepare for the students to return.  I am sure they have missed their students as much as the students have missed them.

“In closing, I wish all staff and students a very safe and successful start for the school year.”