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‘Hybrid’ learning favoured; only 12 students will fit per class says TCI Education Director

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – August 12, 2020 — Staggered, blended, virtual, online, face-to-face, rotation and now hybrid have entered the vernacular as descriptions of how children can learn in this ‘new normal’ forced upon the planet due to the rampant spread of COVID-19.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is considering a blended or hybrid approach to formal education in the public sector, which was today explained by Edgar Howell, the Director of Education.

“What is being proposed in the draft guidelines that have been prepared is that a group of children will come in for a number of days and the other children will continue on line during those days and then another set will come in while that first group will continue online,” explained Edgar Howell, TCI Director of Education today during a Media Q&A hosted by the ministry.

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This is not a shift system, therefore teachers will not have to repeat lessons to new groups of students each day and the methodology is apparently a favoured approach.

“The school administrators as well as teachers for a particular classroom would be the ones to assist us in that area. You would know that are a certain amount of students that can fit into a classroom at that time.  The teachers would know which students are able to go online and be a part of the class as well as those who would be able to be in the classroom setting, so this is avenue, the way we’re looking at it when it comes to blending the classrooms,” said Karen Malcolm, the Minister of Education.

Hon Karen Malcolm, TCI Minister of Education hosted Media Q&A on August 12, 2020 at Office of the Premier

The Ministry of Health has recommended that desks be spaced six feet a part to uphold global standards for physical distancing in the midst of the pandemic.

Mr. Howell explained that an audit of school resources has informed the recommendation in the draft ‘Guidelines and Protocols for Returning to Schools’ about the hybrid or blended approach to schooling.

“The audit helped schools to begin to look at how many students they can accommodate in a classroom, how they will then look at time-tabling and that was done sometime in early July.  We have the feedback from them, so they have an idea of how many students they can accommodate at a time within the school setting and then how many students will have to be online and how they rotate those students in,” said Mr. Howell.

The audits revealed that at a maximum, only 12 students can fit into a properly physically-distanced-classrooms in Turks and Caicos schools.

Despite the research, the possibility exists that there will be no return to face-to-face learning in time for the start of the 2020-2021school year.

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“Principals have worked through and continue to work through how that will happen, if we were to return children, physically to the classroom…” said Mr. Howell.

At least one private school, Mills Institute has decided to continue online teaching only for its primary school from nursery to grade six.  

In a letter to parents dated August 12, Mills Institute located in Providenciales, has also informed that its daycare will remain closed.

The Media Q&A was held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales with Sharlene Robinson, TCI Premier and Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary of Education also in attendance.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Caribbean News

Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit partners with the Department of Trade to deliver Export Opportunities for MSMEs Training

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, May 19th, 2023 – On Thursday, May 11th, 2023, Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit (BSU); partnered with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition to host the Export Opportunities for MSMEs Training. In attendance were nineteen business owners; who participated in the free, interactive training held at Blue Haven Resort from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

The training was facilitated by Ms. Lisandra Colley, Director of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition. During the training, the participants learned the following:

  • Essentials of accessing the international market
  • Basics of exporting and the benefits of exporting for MSMEs
  • Export opportunities to access the Canadian and UK markets
  • Requirements and procedures for the exportation of goods to Canada and the UK
  • Understand how to use Canadian and UK government interactive tools to export

Commenting on the Training, Director of Trade, Lisandra Colley expressed, “Bolstered by its trade-related technical assistance pillar, the Department of Trade, Industry, and Fair Competition (DTIFC) aims to provide capacity building training and seminars to equip businesses across the TCI to fully participate in the domestic and international trading systems. The partnership between the DTIFC and Invest TCI to host the Seminar ‘Export Opportunities for MSMEs’ epitomizes our shared commitment to empower micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Through this collaborative effort, we provided participants with the essential knowledge and tools needed to access international markets and leverage preferential trading arrangements. By understanding the benefits of exporting, identifying potential markets, and grasping the requirements and procedures for successful export, participants are better equipped to seize opportunities in the Canadian and UK markets and worldwide.”

Anissa Adderley, Director of the Business Support Unit, also provided her feedback on the training “To strengthen the awareness of trade opportunities for MSMEs, the BSU will continue its partnership with the Department of Trade. We invite all entrepreneurs and small business owners to participate in our next collaborative training, to be held Thursday, September 12th, 2023, titled Incorporating Product Standards for Sustainable Trade.

Additionally, we welcome all businesses to take advantage of the free services offered by the Business Support Unit, namely Business Planning, Training, Counselling, Administrative Services, and MSME Programme Recipient Support. We provide the support you need to ensure your business is resilient and sustainable. Let us help you take your business to the next level.”

For more information on Invest TCI events, visit www.investturksandcaicos.tc or follow us on social media at @investtci.

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Caribbean News

TCIG not calling Woman’s injury a ‘Shark Attack’

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicos, May 25, 2023 – Where and How?  Those are the questions now arising from Wednesday’s marine incident which left a young woman without her foot. The police and one local business say it was a shark attack, another government agency, the DECR was much more vague.

In a press release around midday Thursday, the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources said, “A 22-year-old female visitor from Connecticut was severely injured while snorkeling… The matter is still under investigation by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.”

Missing from that press release any mention of or warning to be careful of sharks.

Big Blue Collective on the other hand in a statement to Magnetic Media that same day said this:

“Only two individuals were in the water, which was clear and calm, when a presumed Caribbean Reef Shark left one snorkeler with an injury due to what is known in diving circles as a case of mistaken identity,” they continued, “The calm, quick and measured response from one of our captains and office team meant that the victim was extracted from the ocean and dispatched in the ambulance in 15 minutes, saving them from a potentially life-threatening situation.”

The communications team at Big Blue Collective stressed to us that this was not to be used to characterize the TCIs waters. Both DECR and Big Blue reminded the public that these incidents are very rare.

The DECR said the incident happened in an area known as the Bone Yard Dive Site, part of the Princess National Park; a protected marine environment.

Photos of the victim’s injury show that her foot, severed completely at the ankle, was thankfully recovered whole.

The Police report had inaccuracies and was retracted last night. However, not before news media locally and abroad reported the facts as laid out by them.

The TCI Hospitals’ statement said, “The patient received immediate medical attention by our Emergency Response trauma team. The patient’s injury is considered serious and, after a period of stabilization, was transferred to a tertiary care facility for further management on that evening, Wednesday, May 24th 2023…”

Sources told our news team the nature of the injury requires a multi-agency investigation to sort out what exactly occurred in the water.

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Caribbean News

Big Blue Speaks, says Caribbean Reef Shark responsible for severed foot

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 25, 2023 – As international media houses report on the recent marine accident in Providenciales where  a young woman lost a foot, Big Blue Collective Eco Tours is attempting to set the record straight as they defend the marine life and safety reputation of the Turks and Caicos.

They say the young woman was not on a charter trip with their establishment as reported by some media houses, rather she was on a private vessel when she was mistaken for food by what they think to be a Caribbean Reef Shark.

“The extremely rare and unfortunate incident that happened yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 24th May, 2023, in the Turks & Caicos Islands, outside the reef, involving a snorkeler and a shark, occurred during a private trip. Only two individuals were in the water, which was clear and calm, when a presumed Caribbean Reef Shark left one snorkeler with an injury due to what is known in diving circles as a case of mistaken identity.”

The communications team at Big Blue spoke to Magnetic Media on May 25th, the day after the incident. They expressed concern for the victim and her family, maintaining that her safety was the first priority.

They say that it was a very rare freak incident, “The calm, quick and measured response from one of our captains and office team meant that the victim was extracted from the ocean and dispatched in the ambulance in 15 minutes, saving them from a potentially life-threatening situation. We applaud all the efforts of our team, the paramedics, and the emergency first aid responders. Our thoughts are with the victim, their family and loved ones at this time.”

Reports on Thursday explained an investigation was opened to determine how the Connecticut woman was injured; however Big Blue informs only the Police quizzed them for information on the incident.

We are told the young woman was lucid enough to get back to the boat for help when she realized she was injured.  Immediately the team on the boat, which included Big Blue employees, though it was not their charter, jumped into action, retrieving her foot and trying to staunch the bleeding from her limb.

Big Blue told us she was transferred into medical professionals’ care within minutes. Big Blue and the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources are both stressing that incidences of this nature are extremely rare in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and cannot be used to judge the swimming, snorkeling, or overall experience in the country’s waters.

In addition certain marine animals are protected by law in the Turks and Caicos, and should not be hunted or killed for sport, or any other reason without a proper license.

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