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Turks & Caicos Minister of Education Updates

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#TurksandCaicos, August 17, 2021 – Turks & Caicos Minister of Education Updates

 

When & How school will open

Public schools will officially reopen on September 6 and when they do , the hybrid formula for teaching will be shelved for a return to in person classes.

Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education was a part of a press conference on Thursday (August 12) evening from the Office of the Premier and explained that waiting lists only exist because there is a flurry of interest to get children who were once in the private school system, into the public school system.

Students are Waiting

Some 240 students are on the waiting list to enter infant one, and primary school with the longest list at the high school level, 133 hopeful students.

Minister Taylor shared social distancing has cut down on how many can be admitted at the infant, primary and high school levels, but that her team is working on it.

On August 23, said the Director of Education, Edgar Howell parents will know the status of their application for a space in the public school system.

More money, more scholarships

 

Twenty four more people were awarded international scholarships this year informed the minister of education when she hosted a joint press conference with the ministry of health last Thursday.

 

Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education announced $4,102,844 in scholarships were approved, some she said are for full scholarships, others for partial scholarships and the balance are grants which are given to students who want to pursue studies outside of the priority areas.

 

While this year’s group will go through, and it is announced as some 86 applicants who were successful for college abroad; by next year, the Cabinet wants to see a more streamlined approach aligning awardees with the labour force needs of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This year, 181 people applied for scholarships; 86 were approved.  It demonstrated an increase in interest and awardees over 2020, where 156 candidates applied and 62 scholarships were given – the data is from the category of international studies.

 

Students continuing their degree programs are being supported to the tune of $1.45 million; local and international studies cumulatively will cost $ 2.35 million.

 

Students who will pursue ‘A’ Levels at British West Indies Collegiate and the TCI Community College have attracted around $270,000 in educational funding.

 

International awardees are already selected and Minister Taylor informed that a meeting which was due to be held on Monday August 16, would determine the local awardees for the upcoming academic year.

 

 

Teachers must be vaxxed or test weekly

 

Ministry of Education is taking a firm stand with workers in the Department and will require that all staff  be vaccinated for Covid-19 or regularly tested at their own expense; the frequency of testing is not stated in a notice dated August 9 which is expected to impact the coming 2021-2022 academic year.

 

This is the kind of stand that many countries are taking in sectors like health care, at home care givers for elderly, public sector and education.

 

Turks and Caicos is taking the same course it seems, even though so far the measures have resulted in eruptions of protests, petitions and demonstrations and violence.

 

School in for Gov’t Teachers August 23

 

There are 393 teachers registered in the Turks and Caicos government school system, 246 of them are fully vaccinated for Covid-19 which equates to 63 per cent.

Day one for those teachers is August 23rd; this will allow for at least two workshops hosted by the Ministry of Education to ready teachers for new systems in learning and to review the health protocols.

 

Most significantly, it will also allow Covid-19 antigen testing to be conducted on these staffers ahead of school reopening, and this will repeat weekly.  Face covering and social distancing mandates remain in effect for Turks and Caicos and students will return to face to face learning on September 6th all announcements from the Minister of Education Rachel Taylor in a Thursday press conference.

 

Minister Taylor explained the earlier time for teachers to report for duty also allows for screening of children who may have special needs.

 

The two weeks said the minister gives teachers time to prepare their classrooms and enables individual public schools to run their own programs.

 

Two schools have fully vaccinated teachers; they are Louise Garland Thomas High in Provo and the HJ Robinson High in Grand Turk.

 

The minister encouraged all teachers to get vaccinated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News

Dog Tales to rescue 500 dogs from the Turks and Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Stray dogs in the Turks and Caicos will be getting a new lease on life in the coming months as Dog Tales Rescue will be coming to the islands. Up to 500 stray Dogs will be recovered from Grand Turk and flown to Canada in a bid to control the dog population and give the existing strays better lives. The visit has been approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands government who revealed the project in a cabinet meeting on May 31st.

Dog Tales rescue is a Canadian-based rescue mostly focusing on dogs, cats, and horses. The sanctuary is massive, sitting on over 50 acres of land. It was started in 2014 by husband and wife duo Rob and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg.  The animals at Dog Tales Rescue get the 5-star treatment (as they should!) while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes.  The rescue provides a space for neglected and abused dogs to heal with resources including kilometers of walking trails, therapy pools, a grooming spa, and medical care if needed.  Dog Tales does not put dogs down, those who are not adopted immediately remain with the sanctuary permanently.  Since 2014 more than 2000 dogs have passed through the sanctuary.

Rather than kennels the dogs at Dog Tale have rooms that they share or occupy alone and the sanctuary really jazzes up the spaces making them as luxurious as possible.  The volunteers at the sanctuary also actively use social media to campaign for potential adoptees by doing photoshoots to entice families to take the chance to adopt animals. Soon strays from the Turks and Caicos will be in that number.  You can see Dog Tales’ most recent photoshoot here.

Dog Tales even had a TV show back in 2018 that lasted for 2 seasons!

The TCIG says they will provide “logistical and regulatory support” for the program but Dog Tales will be funding the recovery and everything else on their own. You can donate to Dog Tales here

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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