#TurksandCaicosIslands – March 12 – 2020 — The Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services has joined the Ministry of Health in its campaign to battle the deadly disease, Coronavirus (COVID- 19). There is growing concern about community transmission in a number of countries throughout the world. In particular, the rapid rise in case numbers in China and Italy.
While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Turks and Caicos Islands and at present no evidence of transmission in the Turks and Caicos, the Ministry of Education has amplified its planning and strengthening measures to minimize the risk to our students.
The Ministry of Education, Youth, Culture, Social and Library Services will be working intensively with the Ministry of Health to take all possible precautionary measures to protect the welfare of students and staff alike in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak in the schools in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Possible scenarios have been explored along with contingency plans that the Ministry is finalizing to ensure the smooth functioning of operations, particularly that our students’ learning is not significantly impacted. We have also reached out and provided support to our students studying overseas, including measures they should exercise to ensure their well-being and we encourage them to remain vigilant while adhering to the advisories issued by the health authorities in their respective jurisdictions.
Detailed school guidelines and protocols are being finalized and will be shared with all schools within the Turks and Caicos Islands. In addition, the Ministry is also working on continuity plans to minimize disruption to learning, in particular with students that are preparing for external examinations.
The Ministry would like to reassure the public that we are taking the necessary precautions to protect the safety and health of our children and teachers. As such, we wish to strongly urge that students and staff take note of the advisories and updates issued by the Ministry in relation to COVID-19 health precautions:
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands has been proactive in developing a preparedness and response plan for COVID-19. More information on the Risk Reduction Plan rollout is forthcoming.