Minister confident on contact tracing

EDUCATION Minister Glenys Hanna Martin said she was confident in the ability of health officials to properly trace students, teachers and professors to schools where there have been positive COVID cases -19.

His comments came after Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson said the union was concerned about the ability of the Department of Health and Welfare to properly conduct contact tracing due to cases in the schools and communities.

“It’s our Department of Health,” Ms Hanna Martin told reporters yesterday. “I know the challenge they face is huge, but I’m confident they will do the job they are forced to do, but it’s a big task.

“That’s why we all need to be part of the solution and cooperate to make sure we’re able to get ahead of this situation, which will involve things like security protocols. This will involve things like being able to be proactive if you see symptoms to not coming to school, getting tested including teachers without any hesitation.

“All of these things – cooperate with the Ministry of Health. So, I think we have to understand that a pandemic is not a one-dimensional approach. It’s our full cooperation and I’m sure we can always strengthen the areas and I am sure that as time goes on and weaknesses are found, there will be a strengthening of the points where the vulnerabilities are visible.

The minister also weighed in on the Prime Minister’s announcement on Wednesday of a pay rise for teachers, as well as a retention allowance for those in the profession.

“I was very happy to hear that teachers’ pay will be increased in some form,” she said.

“I think as we move forward we would have a more coordinated look at teacher compensation and that’s something we’re looking at now, including career paths for teachers, but as a first impetus I was really happy because it is well deserved and long overdue.