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Only some students to return to classroom, says Minister

#TurksandCaicosIslands – January 28, 2021 – Most students in the Turks and Caicos have not been back in a regular school setting since March 2020 and the wait for a return to classroom learning may be delayed yet again for most children; the Ministry of Education is expected to break its silence soon.

“They will be announcing their measures; we have given them the guidelines and they will be announcing whether they are sticking with that timetable of February 1,” said the Minister of Health on Tuesday during a national press conference carried live on Facebook.

The Minister said the Ministry of Health is not encouraging a return to school for all students; the popular plan is for only the students which need to be in school are scheduled to come back to in person learning.

Earlier this month, private schools and private day care centers were given the green light to have kindergarten-aged students on campuses.  Amidst the scary surge in coronavirus cases for Turks and Caicos, that will continue informed the Minister of Health.

“We are not seeing in the schools,” referring to a document with a demographics breakdown of the infected individuals, the Minister continued, “I am not seeing any children reported… we are not seeing an increase in children and I’m not sure if it is not being reported or children (cases) are not coming forward, but I will ask for that detailed information.”

When it comes to the older student across the country, it may again be only a select cohort of children who will return to their schools. 

“There are some students that have to go in to do important SBA’s that you cannot do (at) home for instance, so we want the Education Department to say to us, we want these persons to come in; these woodwork students, these art students, home economics whoever; and these are the measures we are going to be doing,” explained the Health Minister.

The measures must demonstrate to the Ministry of Health regulators that students will be adequately spaced in classrooms, that there are the necessary clean-up spaces and supplies like additional hand –washing stations, access to hand sanitizer and sensible routines which can minimize student contact and protect teachers.

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