By Staff writer
The recent bringing forward of the October half term break by the Ministry of Education caught many parents off guard without much notice given, allowing them little time to prepare for child cover, so the Director of the Department of Education Services Mark Ray has issued a video explaining the measures the Department of Educational Services and the Ministry are doing to help ensure continuity of education for children during the Covid crisis.
In his message, Mr Ray outlined several measures implemented by Cayman Islands Government schools to guaranty education if schools or classes were required to shift to remote learning. Students would receive “individual education plans” according to students’ needs with regards to remote learning. They were bridging what he termed the “digital equity gap” by ensuring that students who did not have access to the internet at home were provided with the necessary equipment to do so.
Mr Ray said they had identified specific digital platforms and drafted additional guidance to parents in this regard. The system had been tested (and proven, according to Mr Ray) in mid-September when students at George Town Primary School had been required to isolate, when 258 households signed on to the digital learning systems using Government-issued lap tops.
However, despite the effectiveness of online learning, Mr Ray warned that they had to also implement other approaches to ensuring continuity of service for children. One such instance was the Ministry’s decision to bring forward the October half term break in Grand Cayman schools. He said they took this approach when they had 16 educators out of action, having either tested positive or having to be in isolation, while others were coordinating with Public Health in a mass testing operation of students.
The DES Director further outlined several protocols that Cayman Islands Government schools have implemented to ensure students and teachers' health and safety upon returning to school after the mid-term break and encouraged parents to discuss the importance of physical distancing and other safety measures with their children. These protocols included frequent deep cleaning of high traffic spaces such as canteens, arranging classroom seating to maximise space between students, the wearing of masks, and rotating school play times.
You can watch the full video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWv4Tz90g7s