Back-to-school after the summer break can often be a challenge for students under normal circumstances as they get their brains back into gear after the long recess period, but this year they have had the added challenge of dealing with a raft of safety measures put in place throughout their school in a bid to combat the coronavirus.
Major changes have been implemented in schools to keep students and staff safe, but Cayman’s youngsters seem to have taken them in their stride as they go back to the new normality of school life.
Even though Cayman is currently Covid-free, schools have been required to put in place a variety of safety measures in order to ensure safety first. These have included the installation of plexiglass at each reception area, limiting who can actually access the classrooms (limited to students and teachers only), and redesigning classrooms to maintain social distancing (even though it is not a requirement, but still a good idea).
In preparation for the return of students, school have been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised, and this includes the A/C units, which have been cleaned for mould and other contaminants.
Prospect Primary School Principal Matthew Read advised that students have been educated in the need for giving each other space within the school, including the bathrooms where only three students are allowed at any given time, and also in corridors. In addition, desks are wiped down twice a day and playground time and space is divided into classes playing among themselves in their own separate space. Teachers are also being encouraged to take their lessons outside wherever possible and practical.
The traditional water fountains placed at the entrance to schools have been replaced with hand washing stations, to ensure that students have access to hand cleaning facilities easily. New hand sanitiser stations have been installed throughout schools as well.
Mark Ray, Head of Business Services with the Department of Education Services, explained that while staff creating meals for students would still be wearing masks and gloves as usual for health and safety, students would now sit in class to eat their meals, rather than all together in a dining area, as an extra precaution. Schools will have different policies as to how the food would get to the students, but each meal will be safely delivered covered, for enhanced hygiene purposes.