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TCI: Opposition Deputy Leader suggests virtual learning platforms ahead of COVID-19 school closures

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – March 19,2020 — Come this Friday, 20th March 2020, all schools are to close until Monday, 20th April 2020. With the UK Government predicting that the COVID-19 Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may not peak until 14 weeks from now (i.e. around the 22nd June) it is optimistic to believe that schools will remain closed for just one month.

Schools are being asked to finalize plans to continue the delivery of the curricula using the various means available to them, and to share their business continuity plans to the Ministry of Education by today, Wednesday, 18th March 2020. We are aware that this is easier said than done, and we sympathize with you. Schools, particularly the public schools, do not have the experience, training, tools, or IT systems and support, to be able to deliver courseware over the internet to the more than 7,000 students (based on the Turks & Caicos Islands Government Vital Statistics Report 2018) who are between the ages of 5-19, in such a short time. To successfully move classes online, schools will need at a minimum the following:

1.         A Virtual learning platform,

2.         Teachers trained to deliver classes via the Virtual learning platform,

3.         Students trained on the use of the Virtual learning platform, and

4.         Each student to have access to either a PC, tablet, or smart phone with a reliable internet connection so they can access the Virtual learning platform. 

Getting all these items in place to have virtual classes for the next 30 days is practically impossible. Even trying to do so over the next 3 months is a huge task. However, for those schools that are interested in trying, I highly recommend “Webex for School Teachers”. It’s a great platform and it’s free.

To ensure that this distance learning exercise go as smoothly as possible, we encourage all schools to ensure that before they close on Friday, they have contact information, particularly email addresses, for all students. For students who don’t currently have an email account, I highly recommend Gmail. It’s free.  

In absence of structured classes, you students will be required to exhibit a level of self-discipline and self-management that many adults don’t possess. This is asking a lot from you, but it is necessary during this time. This period may feel like summer started early, but you must be discipline during this time and dedicate at least 5 – 6 hours per day to studying, especially those students who are part of the class of 2020. If your teachers are unable to give you a full day’s worth of class material, then I encourage you to use the spare time reading your textbooks, and for those math and science students, practice, practice, practice, those questions.    

To the class of 2020, the cancelation of classes could not have happened at a worse time for you. You’re getting ready for final exams, in a little more than 3 months you’re graduating, and in September, you’re starting a new chapter of your life. I know you feel that all of this is unfair, and it is. However, all is not lost. Remember, that God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, and when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.                   

The next month, and maybe even the next three months, you will be tempted by everything but your schoolwork, but you must ignore the temptations. If your school doesn’t have access to a Virtual learning platform, then utilize existing social media and communications platforms – like Facebook and Whatsapp – to study together in groups. Make sure that everyone in your class participates. With everyone reaching for the same goal, it will encourage each person to give their all. Having study groups will make it easier for persons to work through problems effectively, and most importantly, it will encourage the sharing of knowledge. Make sure that no one is left behind.   

“Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together”, and Class of 2020, God has chosen you for this challenge. I know that you will make it through it, and you will make the entire country proud. We stand by you, and we will be here for you.

I pray that God continue to bless and strengthen you to overcome the challenges ahead.      

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Caribbean News

Educational Aids Strengthen Learning Experience for Provo Students

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PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands: Scores of students in Providenciales will benefit from back-to-school supplies donated by Sandals Foundation Ambassadors at Beaches Turks and Caicos resort, strengthening the instructional process in four schools at the start of the new school term.

More than 2,000 students from Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron, Oseta Jolly and the Thelma Lightbourne Primary Schools were presented with a generous supply of educational materials including notebooks, pens, pencils, rulers, sharpeners, knapsacks, reading material, sports gear and musical instruments from members of the philanthropic arm of the family all-inclusive resort. While sharing the gratitude for the gifts received, the leaders at the various institutions lauded the efforts of the more than 20 volunteers on hand.

Neekimo King, Principal of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School shared, “Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation over the years have adopted our institution as their own. These reading books will go a far way in increasing our library stock and improving literacy among the students while the physical education and the guidance counseling units have received lots of materials to bolster the learning experience for our students.”

Sophia Garland, Principal of the Enid Capron Primary School was equally elated as she expressed how beneficial resources will be for the teaching and learning process.

“These supplies, including the books, will definitely aid in increasing literacy amongst the students and the many teaching aids that we have been received will create an environment that is conducive for teaching and learning.”

In sharing with the schools, James McAnally, General Manager at Beaches resort noted, “Sandals Foundation and the resort remain committed to the development of the education of our children, the environment and the communities in which we operate. These four government operated primary schools were identified for these supplies to help in fostering their academic and extra-curricular growth.”

McAnally continued, “A big thank you to the Sandals Foundation Ambassadors who came out and helped with making these distributions possible.”

Vice principal of the Oseta Jolly Primary School, Diana Dean, also expressed gratitude noting, “With these tools, I am sure the students will be excited about learning and the teachers will be better equipped to deliver the lessons.”

The Sandals Foundation and Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort have long been supporters of education and community development in Turks and Caicos, donating to a number of schools and youth sports programmes. Since 2011, the organisations have been assisting students at Ianthe Pratt, Enid Capron Primary Schools and other schools across the islands in their holistic development by providing educational supplies and the opportunity for Sandals and Beaches resorts guests to meaningfully engage with the students through a weekly literacy enhancement programme, hosted in partnership with Island Routes Tours – Reading Road Trip.

 

Captions: 

Header: Staff and students from the Enid Capron Primary School share a moment for the cameras with members of the Sandals Foundation team as the school received educational items from the Beaches Turks and Caicos and the Sandals Foundation.

Insert: James McAnally, General Manager, Beaches Turks and Caicos (front left) makes a presentation to members of the Ianthe Pratt Primary School recently with sporting gear and educational items looking on are members of the Sandals Foundation team, Sesame Street Character

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Crime

PRESS STATEMENT: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

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#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Ministry responsible for Education confirms that a recent report of alleged sexual abuse was brought to the attention of authorities at a particular school. For the protection of the child, we will not divulge details of this matter. We do acknowledge that there were issues experienced which resulted in less than appropriate response to the incident.

 The Ministry is continuing its investigation of the incident, in its totality and has since requested a comprehensive report on the response from all involved. Several meetings, visits and discussions were held. The key is to ensure that the minor involved is afforded additional counselling and care and that other students within the institution are also afforded the relevant support needed. The Student Support Services has been active in coordinating this response which is currently in operation.

 As an immediate further action, the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) entities will convene and existing protocols will be reviewed and investigations conducted to determine the consistency of the response, exactly where the established protocols were not followed and the subsequent actions to be taken.

 The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Social Services considers its responsibility for the Safeguarding of children of utmost importance. In so doing, the Ministry of Education has instituted a number of measures over the years to ensure that allegations of abuse to children in schools are treated with urgency. The creation of the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) was created to ensure that teachers, leaders, Social Workers, and Police can respond to allegations with the child’s safety and protection as the core consideration. Child safeguarding remains the Ministry’s primary concern.

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Crime

Murder Victim Identified

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#TurksandCaicos, January 27, 2023 – The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have identified Ervin Glinton of Sand Bar Street, Five Cays, as the male who was shot dead on January 24th .

Based on preliminary reports, at around 3pm, the Police Control Room  received a call from a resident stating that gunshots were being heard in Five Cays.

RTCIPF officers responded to the given location at Reece Street and found Glinton’s lifeless body lying face down on the ground, with what appeared to be gunshot wounds.

The public is being advised to notify the closest police station or to contact Crime Stoppers and give any information regarding this murder or  any illegal activity anonymously.

Please note, that Crime Stoppers calls are answered in Miami and in Houston by Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers which is a non-profit and not a police agency.

The calls are anonymous and cannot be traced in the United States or the TCI.

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