Updating parents, teachers and staff on the latest status of Bermuda’s public schools, Premier David Burt confirmed that the Government has “received over 80 percent consent from parents” for the saliva screening programme.

Speaking at the latest COVID briefing yesterday, he said: “Our primary goal as the government remains to get students back into the classroom as soon as possible.

“The schools that have been tested this week include; Lagoon Park Preschool, Southampton Pre-school, and St. Paul’s Preschool, which were tested on Monday. The Ministry is currently discussing plans to have these schools opened on a staggered basis, beginning as early as tomorrow (October 7).

“Gilbert Institute, West Pembroke Primary School, and Port Royal Primary were tested on Tuesday,” said Mr Burt.

“As of yesterday (Oct 5) , East End Primary, Purvis Primary, Victor Scott Pre-School, Prospect Primary, and Success Academy Robert’s Avenue reached 80% consent and will be tested starting todayThursday, October 7. This means we will have had 33 percent of our schools that have exceeded 80 percent saliva screening consent tested in preparation for a return to in-classroom learning.

“Once a school reaches over 80 percent consent, testing is arranged. The results and data received from the tests will help determine when a school can return to in-classroom learning. The schools are aware of those who have not signed up for the regular saliva screening and are making contact with parents directly to discuss. Parents who would like to know the consent level of their child’s school are able to contact the school principal directly,” he added.

“We can all assist our students and teachers by doing what we can to contain this outbreak, get our schools back open, and to keep them open safely. Vaccinations remain one of the best and most effective ways we can protect ourselves and others. I am grateful that we continue to see an increase in registrations for the vaccine. The more people who get vaccinated, the more community protection we will have against the highly contagious Delta Variant. The presentation from the Chief Medical Officer earlier certainly outlined some of the data surrounding those matters. If you have questions or concerns, or if you are considering getting the vaccination, please speak to your doctor and discuss if it is medically safe for you to do so.

“Along with vaccinations and following the basic health guidelines, we must also ensure that we follow the regulations currently set out in law. The 12:30 am – 5 am curfew remains in place,  large group gatherings of more than 20 persons require a large group exemption from the Ministry of Youth, Culture, and Sport, and they also require the use of SafeKey for all in attendance.”

The Premier also noted that “since the introduction of the latest regulations during this outbreak, large group events which take place indoors have not received approval”.

“That restriction has now been removed, and indoor events will be reviewed and approved in line with the policy for large group exemptions.

“Further, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, Dr Ernest Peets also advises that sport is moving to Stage 3 of Return to Play which is competitive training to prepare for competition.  I can also report that the Ministry has informed the Bermuda Football Association that it has been given the approval to recommence the football season on October 23.”