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TCI: COVID Testing at Public Schools coming



#TurksandCaicos, September 13, 2021 – Teachers across the sector will have to be vaccinated or tested twice weekly for the coronavirus as TCI cautiously sticks to its plan for a return to face to face learning in full.

“We are putting mechanisms in place in conjunction with the ministry of Health, to train persons from the schools who will be responsible for administering the antigen rapid tests, which will take some of the burden off the ministry of health,” said Hon Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service.

“We will allow two persons from each school to go through this training, but while we await that training to take place, testing will continue for unvaccinated teachers only.”

While some schools have had no choice but to continue hybrid learning programs due to space deficiencies and out of an abundance of caution, there is no mandate for schools to bring everyone back if they are unable to do so within public health regulations.

Testing sites in Providenciales are the Blue Hills clinic in Blue Hills from 9am to 4pm on Fridays and at the National Stadium from 9amto 4pm on Fridays.

Contact tracing and the uptick in Covid 19 cases is taxing the manpower capacity of the Ministry of Health, explained Taylor in her September 3rd press conference from the Office of the Premier in Provo.

“We are encouraging the teachers to ensure that they get tested during these times.”

Once the training – schedule to happen within September – is completed, antigen testing will be performed at the school site.

A meeting  ahead of school’s reopening to students was hosted by the Ministry of Health for teachers in both the private and public sector.

Minister Taylor explained, the session was aimed at allaying fears and giving doctor responses to questions about safety amidst the pandemic.  Most teachers were concerned about mask mandates; assurances were given that masks or face coverings will remain mandatory for the vaccinated and unvaccinated for both students and staff.

The Minister reported four teacher resignations; due to job offers abroad and some due to the mandatory vaccination policy for expatriate workers.  The policy for mandatory vaccination of work permit holders in Turks and Caicos took effect on September 1.

Additionally, the back to school vaccination drive did not yield the kind of returns the Ministries of Education and Health were hoping for.  The drive which had a seven day run was designed for the over 12 year olds to begin their Pfizer doses.

Dr. Nadia Astwood, Chief Medical Officer for the Turks and Caicos expressed during her media session that not enough children are getting vaccinated and of the hundreds who are eligible to take the Pfizer vaccine, only 126 have received both doses.

One hundred and sixty-one students have gotten the first jab.

Dr. Astwood said the Ministry of Health will continue to promote vaccination in this age group.

Education Minister Rachel Taylor expressed similar sentiments.






Caribbean News

Educational Aids Strengthen Learning Experience for Provo Students



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.



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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#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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Bahamas News

UB Statement: Portia M. Smith Building Under Assessment



#The Bahamas, January 27, 2023 – In response to concerns expressed, University of The Bahamas released a notification on Thursday 26th January 2023 that effective immediately the Portia M. Smith Building at the Oakes Field Campus is closed until further notice as a precautionary measure.

Immediate steps have been taken to engage the Ministry of Environmental Health to conduct a thorough assessment of the building. In the interim, personnel assigned to Portia M. Smith have been instructed to work remotely to maintain the continuity of operations. A further communication will be issued once the assessment has been completed as we continue to provide timely updates.

Please be assured that the health, safety, and welfare of members of the University community and the general public are paramount and we are working with urgency to address this matter.

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