The Department of Education (DES) has updated and revised its guidance for the opening of government schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
Several changes have been made to the schedule and how the schools operate due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These affect a range of school operations including opening dates, classrooms, playgrounds, and on school buses.
Some of the regulations previously issued this past Tuesday, August 25th, remain unchanged while others have had varying degrees of adjustments.
MASKS AND DISTANCING
The issue of children wearing masks in school has been a major point of concern.
Earlier this week, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee, announced that the previous regulations had now been changed but required to go through a legal process.
“I now feel free to say that I don’t believe children under 10 should have to wear a mask in countries where COVID is well controlled and that includes Cayman,” he said then.
Under the revised guidance, while it remains mandatory to wear masks on school buses, wearing them in class is now optional.
There’s no longer the need to physically distance in classrooms, corridors or outdoors. However, the DES guidance says physical contact is strongly discouraged.
SCHEDULE: PRIMARY SCHOOLS
The opening dates for primary schools on the three islands and their respective year groups advisory has had some adjustments.
The DES says parents were advised of the staggered start dates based on their child’s year group.
It also advises that to prepare for a full return to school earlier than anticipated, parents are being given time to ensure all resources and necessary arrangements are in place for a start on August 31st.
In-person classes for Years 3, 4 and 5 in primary schools
in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac will now resume on Monday, August 31st.
Reception and Years 1, 2 and 6 at primary schools on Grand Cayman and West End Primary School on Cayman Brac have started on August 26th following the previous schedule.
Likewise, Little Cayman Education Service, and Creek and Spot
Bay Primary Schools on Cayman Brac welcomed back all students including the Nursery class on Wednesday August 26th.
SCHEDULE: HIGH SCHOOLS
High schools were also conducting orientation this week with parents being given the opportunity to ensure all preparations that are completed and resources acquired for a full return to in-person classes for their students on August 31st.
On Grand Cayman, John Gray High School and Clifton Hunter High School are conducting on-site orientation this week until Friday August 28th.
Classes for Years 7, 10 and 11 will resume on Monday August 31st as previously announced.
However, students at those schools in Years 8 and 9 who were due to return to in-person classes on September 9th will now turn out on Monday, August 31st as well.
Cayman Islands Further Education Centre is conducting its orientation this week with classes resuming on Monday August 31st as well.
While students of Years 7, 10, 11 and 12 at Layman E. Scott Sr. High School on Cayman Brac went back to classes yesterday, Years 8 and 9 will now return to in-person classes on Monday, August 31, 2020.
UCCI Dual Entry students will now also return on Monday August 31st instead of September 9th as previously announced.
Lighthouse School students returned to classes this week.