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TCI: COVID Testing at Public Schools coming

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#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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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