Monday 25 May, 2020

Minister of Education advises public on contingencies during COVID-19

Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands, the Honourable Juliana O’Connor-Connolly feels that she should have been present at yesterday’s press briefing. This was given the number of education-related questions that have arisen from the public.

This was conveyed in an interview with Patrick Schmid, on ‘Talk Today’ on Radio Cayman with herself and Chief Officer, Cetonya Cacho and Lyneth Monteith, Acting Chief Officer via telephone, today March 19, in which the educational leaders advised the public of the educational measures that have been put into place to respond to COVID-19.

The educational leaders advised as follows:

Preparations in Advance of coronavirus coming to Cayman

Protocols were put into place at the ministry as soon as it became apparent that the virus was at an epidemic level.

The Ministry of Education worked closely with the Ministry of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Hazard Management Cayman Islands, the Department of Education Services and school leaders to ensure proactive measures were put into place.

Various scenario plans were put into place. Communication plans were put into place. Authority delegation plans were put into place. This was done with the partnership of the Deputy Governor.

Special accommodations and learning protocols were organized in partnership with both public and private schools, including learning packs and online learning as part of the mandate of the Ministry of Education.

Many students are working in accordance with their school timetables so parents were urged to make sure children go to bed on time. The learning packs were put into place so that they would not require additional support from their parents if it is not available.

Considerations are being made as to whether to reduce holidays to make up for the time lost.

The ministry has been keeping all schools, parents, and guardians well-informed with up-to-date advisories.

The leaders said this is an opportune time to teach children to cook, sew and make use of the time to be home without relying on the television.

Powermath and icompute are resources that have put into place for primary students. The Ministry is also putting up online games for students.

Accommodations for students who have come from abroad

Over the past few days, the NEOC and the Ministry of Education have been working with students who have been overseas as well as the government office in the UK.

“They are our children and we will do what we can to get them home safely,” said the Honourable Minister. Civil servants are on hand at the airport, asking students questions. There are civil servants transporting students to hotels.

At the airport, immigration has slowed down the entry process. Temperatures are being taken and there are increased Customs and Border Control Personnel.

Other issues

Students who are in years 11-12 taking external exams are being discussed with the Caribbean Examination Council.

The public was advised that school bus contractors will be paid during this time.

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