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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Misick announces Longer terms in Office, Bi-Partisan Constitutional Changes 

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#TurksandCaicos, February 19, 2024 – Magnetic Media SOTS23 COVERAGE:  Premier WASHINGTON MISICK announced that there is bi-partisan agreement on the CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES which the people of the Turks and Caicos can expect including a FIVE YEAR term for the elected Government.

The House of Assembly will finally leave the HJ Robinson High Auditorium to return home at the NJS Francis building and when it does, it will be called a PARLIAMENT with only ELECTED MEMBERS; (as reported) ending the four year term and ending the APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS for a truly democratic composition of the house of representatives.

The State of the State Address, a creation of the Progressive National Party Administration, was carried live from Yellow Man and Sons Auditorium in Grand Turk, tonight February 19 which is also the three-year anniversary of the Misick-led government.

#TCIPremier #WashingtonMisick #SOTS2023 #TurksandCaicosParliament #tcinews

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Health

How to protect against HIV 

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 15, 2024 – HIV/AIDS has killed more than 40 million people globally since it first appeared in the human population in 1959 according to the World Health Organization WHO and even though there are effective treatments there is no cure making prevention practices a top priority for vulnerable groups.

In recent months claims have emerged of rising cases locally creating concern in some Turks and Caicos residents.  The Ministry of Health has remained silent on the issue and has not published relevant statistics despite repeated queries from Magnetic Media.

Given the continued presence of the virus, individuals are still at risk from infection. In fact the WHO says in 2022, when 630,000 people died from HIV-related causes and 1.3 million people acquired HIV.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus behind AIDS, the most advanced form of HIV.

The virus spreads through the body fluids of an infected person, including blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal fluids. It is not spread by kisses, hugs or sharing food.

With this in mind there are several steps that residents can take to protect themselves including

  • Using condoms during sex
  • Limiting sexual partners
  • Being tested regularly
  • avoiding sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment
  • Using personal protective gear when dealing with bodily fluids

Vulnerable populations can be administered Pre Exposure Prophylaxis which work to prevent infection and Post Exposure Prophylaxis which can prevent the virus from taking hold.

An HIV diagnosis is not a death sentence.  In 2024 HIV can be treated and prevented with antiretroviral therapy (ART). These drugs strengthen the immune system which HIV weakens significantly.

Still the WHO encourages residents to take preventative action.

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Health

CARPHA: Take Action to Avoid the Harmful Effects of Saharan Dust

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February 16, 2024 – The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is urging persons to protect themselves against adverse health effects of a Saharan dust plume, which has covered many parts of the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in a Dust Bulletin dated February 9th, 2024 stated, “it is highly likely that particulate matter levels will be above the 24-hour outdoor air quality guidelines” as established by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Joy St John, Executive Director, CARPHA, explained “Saharan dust worsens air quality and increases the levels of particulate matter in the air.  This can be hazardous, especially to small children, older adults and people with underlying lung conditions and chronic cardiopulmonary diseases”.  Dr St John added, “Saharan dust can also worsen the health symptoms of those who suffer from asthma, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)”.

In light of the poor air quality levels, CARPHA is encouraging persons to take steps to avoid the harmful effects of Saharan dust. These include:

  • Stay indoors as much as possible and when outdoors, wear a dust mask (eg. KN95)
  • Utilise a HEPA filter indoors to purify air in individual rooms
  • Persons who use medications for pulmonary conditions should carry them at all times and use as prescribed
  • At the first sign of difficulty while breathing, seek professional medical advice immediately
  • For less severe symptoms, standard allergy medications such as antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays may alleviate symptoms

For more information, please see excerpts from the attached CIMH Dust Bulletin.

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