Ministry confirms extra school holiday is for staff

| 04/12/2020 | 90 Comments

(CNS): The decision to extend the Christmas school holidays by two weeks is largely to support educators after a difficult year, officials have said. On Friday Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly confirmed the change to the start date for the New Year Term from 4 January to 18 January, following reports on CNS earlier this week. But it appears the decision had previously been revealed to teachers at an event last Saturday.

“Having realised the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical, mental and emotional wellness of our educators”, a decision was made to extend the holiday to allow them to travel and then isolate on return, Connolly said.

She added that many teachers and staff “had not been able to reconnect with their families since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic” and the holiday extension would “allow staff from government schools to spend  some well-needed time with their families locally and overseas”.

Around 180 teachers or 22 percent of the staff in government schools initially indicated their desire to travel during the Christmas break. O’Connor-Connolly said the ministry consulted with the Department of Sports, the Youth Services Unit (YSU) and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) to ensure that activities are put in place to engage children during the extended break.

Clifton Hunter High School Principal Dr Richard Wildman said the additional break would be beneficial to his staff, giving them the opportunity to “fully recharge and prepare for the remainder of this academic year”.

The decision has caused significant public concern, however, as parents are now facing unexpected child care challenges. Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said the civil service will support employees who may need to make alternate child care arrangements.

“The civil service will institute flexible working arrangements for civil servants whose children attend public schools,” he stated in a release Friday. “Civil servants who are affected by school closures are requested to refer to CIG’s existing policies on Remote Working and Flexible Work Hours when requesting consideration by their managers.”

The Department of Education Services and the ministry have announced they are working closely with the airlines and the Health Services Authority (HSA) to facilitate travel and to ensure that proper public health protocols are observed.

“The Department of Education Services has also recognised the implications that this adjustment may have on the instructional time and has implemented appropriate measures to ensure that our students will receive 185 teaching days as outlined in the Education Law 2016,” said Senior School Improvement Officer (SSIO) Ian O’Connor.

In adhering to the legal requirement of 185 instructional days in an academic year, DES and MEYSAL noted that three storm days also needed to be recouped during the 2020-2021 academic year due to the passing of Hurricanes Delta and Eta.

Private schools are not bound by the ministry’s decision and they can make arrangements as they see fit, being mindful of that legal requirement of 185 instructional days during the year.

The ministry said it will provide any additional updates through the official channels for the latest government news and updates.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is Bu….. as an ex-pat Civil servant, I have not been home since November 2019, I have not seen my family, 90% of my work is done on a computer and thus I worked longer hours during the lockdown, I am being forced to take all of my 2020 vacation days as CIG cannot afford the cost of carrying my vacation into 2021 ….BUT I CAN NOT TRAVEL as “going to spend the holiday is not essential to travel” says my Chief Officer…

    But teachers can go home … I’m sure it is not the expat teachers that will be benefiting from the extra 2 weeks because they cant afford CIG quarantine and they don’t live alone so they cant qualify for quarantine at home !!! ABOLUTE BULL !!!

  2. JTB says:

    Ministry confirms extra school holiday is ‘for voters’

  3. Art says:

    And now summer break is shorter by 2 weeks! Some teachers are pissed as they already book flight from 1st July which now they have to change their flight tickets!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Suggestion here for the teachers – PLEASE DO NOT SEND HOME TONS OF HOMEWORK AND ASSIGNMENTS FOR MY KIDS TO DO! I’ll still have to go in to the office to work and also have to find money to pay someone to watch my kids. My temp nanny very likely won’t be qualified to teach them or assist with homework. I’d like to reset too but I live in the private sector world. I implore you not to add further stress to parents, and I’m certain the majority of us will struggle to work around this. I noticed during lock down, the amount of work my son was given was three times as much as when he was physically in a classroom (his own admission), kindly refrain from doing this shit again. Honestly, this decision was very unnecessary and will cause more headache than good.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If we are closed down at the moment! And traffic is this horrendous, what the hell is going to happen when we “open”. We were blaming the traffic on the tourist! Now no tourist, but more and more traffic every day! Stop letting these people in. More roads are not going to solve anything. I know if Cayman wasn’t my home I would not come here as a tourist ! This is horrible !

    • Hubert says:

      9:41, Just wait until we have over 100,000 people as is the CIG plan. Not going to get better.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can make 3 lanes from the east if you like (which they seem to be doing) but what’s the point when you hit one lane by the airport and stables??

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ministers confirm we are blaming the staff. Do the staff get to tell their side? Ministers have lost the trust of the people and now have to provide proof to be believed. What happens now is the rest is swept under the rug. This is Caymanian education and it’s affects in a nutshell.

  7. Terry ball says:

    Teaching is the best paid part time job going.

    I’d be livid about school fees for this year.

    What’s happening with the iguanas

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Genius, if you think they have it so good, why did you not become a teacher? You’re either an imbecile or a lot slower that what your Mommy led you to believe. Most likely both.

      • Terry says:

        Cus I got better than a 2:2 at uni

        • F.Rankly says:

          Terry is correct,

          I may as well homeschooled this year, and to be frank, I might as well homeschooled for the whole tenure. Those that can DO, those that can’t, TEACH.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t feed the troll…..

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been afraid of JuJu ever since that tv appearance in lockdown when she performed an exorcism on herself as she was reading out a Q&A in rapid breaths

  9. Anonymous says:

    And will these teachers have to use their vacation entitlement to quarantine? I’m in a different civil service/Gov organisation and I’ve been told that I’ll have to use my remaining vacation to quarantine? How the hell can that be fair? That leaves me with almost nothing for the rest of the year! One rule for some and another rule for others. But this is Cayman of course.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the fine print. Their other breaks will be shortened by an equal amount. So no, they’re not getting an extra two weeks.

      • Anonymous says:

        All the civil servants who are allowed to “work from home” because they have kids in a government school will be getting an extra 2 weeks. Unlike that poor young lady who had the misfortune to meet Skylar at the beach and is now spending 2 weeks enforced quarantine using her vacation allowance.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ju Ju has her eye on an election winner

  10. Anonymous says:

    So when the teachers return all “recharged” and they test positive well that’s ok just keep schools closed for another two weeks. Sounds like a plan.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of you are jealous because your employer doesn’t care about you.

      Kudos to Ju Ju. Post all the negative comments you want. They won’t hurt Ju Ju she has already won her seat in the Brac.

    • Becock says:

      Thank you to our teachers. Enjoy your well deserved time off.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sorry but other than the challenges of not seeing family because of border closures – and I feel that pain 💯 as I have not seen my loved ones for nearly a year, but I accept that I chose to live in a different country because it was better for me and my family to move – what is their additional job related stress? There is no covid in the community in Cayman. So they are not running online classes synchronously with in person classes, running entirely online classes, dealing with covid protocols in classrooms, having to go to kids’ homes and check that there are no drugs/parents present/homework being done from printed sheets as the kids have no internet connections and so on, like teachers in the rest of the world.

        • Anonymous says:

          Re job related stress, for starters the entire CS is filled with bullies at the top…go figure!

    • Alfredo hernandez says:

      Take care of your Teachers and they will take care of your children.

      Stop being so selfish.

      • Anonymous says:

        Are you saying that private school teachers are not being taken care of?

        • Anonymous says:

          Private school teachers are being allowed to travel this Christmas, however classes affected will continue online once teachers return from holiday. CIG should have taken a similar route.

          • Anonymous says:

            Exactly. The interests of the children should be what comes first. The public schools have fallen flat on that one (again) especially for children with exams coming this summer.

      • Anonymous says:

        Alfredo, you are correct. Some people so ignorant, foolish and selfish they cannot see further than their own noses.

  11. Anonymous says:

    A lot of ignorance and foolishness going on here.

    Yes, the decision was announced terribly and seems to have been thought through for around 5 seconds before being blurted out. However, there are valid reasons for it. Many educators haven’t seen family in over a year, if this allows for some teachers to return happier, that’s great.

    The issue here is many people are jealous. Deal with it. Also, it appears the main beneficiaries are foreigners. Well, if you’re reliant on so many overseas teachers, that’s not going away any time soon.

    In terms of childcare. Measures will be in place. Many parents are at home anyhow. The only adversely affected will be students with exams coming up, as has been pointed out. The rest of the kids (and teachers) will still get their full allocation of school days.

    Drawing parallels between police and nurses etc working from home is also just stupid.

    If COVID was rampaging through the community here, we’d have real issues to contend with.

    I’m not a teacher, and don’t think the 2 weeks closure of schools is a good idea, but let’s have perspective.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well i am sorry… I too would like to go see my family overseas to come back recharged and happy. But guess what, that can’t happen. Not only because of lack of flights but also not enough time off to cover the quarantine.
      Yes its a good idea but it’s setting a precedent and many of us who are desperately wanting to see family are unable to do so just as yet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Also you must be a civil servant who will be given the flexibility to stay home for two weeks. What about those who work in private sector?

      • Anonymous says:

        No. Not a civil servant. Private sector. Will be impacted negatively by this too, it’s just I’m able to see there are some limited benefits without a “what about me???” mentality.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I really hope you don’t believe all this shit. Are you aware of the plane loads of children that are coming in daily!!! That’s what the extended two weeks are for!!!! Moses and Julianna O’Connor Conolly needs to be fired! Damn disgraceful and shameful what is going on. God forbid if this corona gets loose in Cayman what are we going to do!!’ We must STOP these people from coming in, we must stop these planes. If Caymanians needs to get home that’s the only opening we should have. Two powerful words!!! “WHAT IF”. Better be sure than sorry. Bet Moses not out there exposing himself!

  13. Anonymous says:

    4,:37 pm, u are right, Post Office workers must still being c-virus vacation for it still takes 17 day a letter from Brac to Grand.

  14. Anonymous says:

    When young Caymanians ask why can’t we get good jobs so we can enjoy life in the modern world like expats? This is why. They have always been behind in education. They will always be behind in education. They have no choice but to follow in the footsteps of their leadership.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or! Or it could be because the government doesn’t consider the needs of the working people. Being behind in education is a symptom of the unwillingness of of our own government to consider the needs of working people, Caymanian or no.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Juju your a disgrace , what’s the real reason behind this ? do some digging please.
    She was never qualified to hold her position given to her . Won’t be getting many votes from disgruntled parents here whilst your expat teachers travel home .
    Your an embarrassment representing my children with pathetic decisions like this.
    Not everyone has a cushy life like you do , money for nothing.
    Not that you give a shit about the kids or how parents can cope with this change. Really think about it. Look at the big picture next time before making erratic spur of the moment promises for applause.

  16. Slater says:

    Can nurse, firefighters and police work from home?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes good, time for all to speak up about this nonsense without fear and threats! Those days and years of disgusting behaviour and payouts and self gratification has to be done now after this year. People will not take this 100 years behind the times attitude anymore, only the ones benefitting, you will be observed, accounted and shown. People are not scared anymore… Wha ya gonna do… put me in jail?

    • Anonymous says:

      No but they can be paid for staying at home. Working from home is a euphemism for the civil service – look at the post office.

    • M. Hock says:

      Shout out to all the global suicide bombers who have been working from home this year

  17. Dave Edwards says:

    KS3 students are able to catch up in KS4. Year 11 students need this time in January NOT July when exams are done.
    Close the schools, not open to ks3 but allow voluntary attendance for yr 11 to complete coursework such as SBAs, many (70%) of us will willingly work to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged and unlike what is always spread incorrectly the majority of our final year understand this and would rather be in school than watching Netflix.
    So, support our teachers in key stages, we need positives about this situation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. I’ve already started contacting my ks4 parents about prep sessions in January.

    • Anonymous says:

      Madness on every level. Students in exam years get 2 weeks less tuition than they should.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Can nurses, firefighters and police work
    from home too. They have children to look after.

    • Anonymous says:

      Firefighters can absolutely work from home. Should be a 90% volunteer force to begin with.

      • Anonymous says:

        You for real? You know how many car crashes they attend? They clear the oil and debris from the roads, even if they’re not attending serious crashes with injury. This is a daily occurrence.

        They’re also CPR trained and can often be lifesavers.

        • Anonymous says:

          You are correct. Jealousy getting in the way of seeing the truth. A donkey’s rear end is smarter than these people.

  19. Resigned to "world class". says:

    JuJu has had a tough year and feels she really needs 2 weeks extra holiday. The civil service “flexible arrangements will allow them not to answer their telephones, but this of course will make no difference to the norm.

  20. Anonymous says:

    22% of teachers indicated that they wanted to travel. Not 50%, not 70%, not 90% but 22%……kmt I’m so upset now. I wonder who the individuals are that make up the 22% because they seem to be VERY important.

    • Anonymous says:

      The way the survey was worded, yes, many of us said we wanted to travel, but do we plan to? No, it’s selfish at this point. I doubt that 22% are traveling.

      • Anonymous says:

        Given the flights on Cayman Airways were sold out before JuJu even announced the policy I doubt very much that any teachers who had not already booked will be travelling. It’s not about travelling it’s about allowing the civil service to have another 2 weeks working from home to get over all that Christmas partying.

    • Anonymous says:

      4.35pm Wonder when the 22% were actually told and when did they book their travel and where to, when return and where quarantining? Smells like more rotten government eggs!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes we are! We, the 22% take our mental health seriously.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:52pm, 22 % picking up everything they can get out of these Islands, they don’t care for the children here or less the islands. Its plain to see. It’s only their big wages they care about period

      • Anonymous says:

        But not your job

      • Anonymous says:

        And to hell with the rest of the community – now who is selfish?

    • Anonymous says:

      People, you have an idea how it works! It has always been this way. The options are never “options”. No matter whether the percentage is 51% to 49%, 49% to 51% or, in this case 76% to 24%, the decision is made before the offering of alternatives. Top-down decision-making has never been consultative! Teachers have never had unions. Associations are not allowed, either!

  21. Anonymous says:

    One wonders if this is merely to allow Ju Ju to go and do her Christmas shopping?

    • Santa says:

      4.21pm That will be New York based on her track record, but this time she may have to pay her airfare.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Adding school days in July is of no benefit to the students who are taking exams and for whom January is a critical time. Students take mocks, get results and then work with teachers to identify gaps and still have time to address them. I feel for our amazing teachers, I truly do, but I also feel for our exam taking students whose critical two years of studies have been impacted as well.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Try as I might I can’t see any sensible reason for this change.

  24. Anonymous says:

    World Class.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Julianna consistently has shown that she has NO regard for the impact that her poor planning and last minute decisions have on parents, and much more our children. I am glad she is at least concerned about our educators, who yes deserve some form of a break…. BUT NOT TO TRAVEL IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC. Where are they going to go that’s safe enough to be there without coming home and infecting us or worse – our children?

    Also, how many more of us worked right through the lockdown and deserve a break too? Anyone wanna sponsor the private sector peeps a trip? Quarantine-stay pay and last minute childcare services to boot too?

    • Anonymous says:

      Save your money and run when your time is right. Do not even bother to get residency and status.

      • Anonymous says:

        Residency and status!? I don’t require either of those which means I am stuck here with these poor ass decisions.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is going to infect you or your children. What about you all putting teachers at risk by taking your children everywhere even to visit your friends who just got back from overseas?

      Teachers deserve the time off! Thank you Ms. Juliana!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes they do, but you can’t expect parents to have to take up the slack. This shouldn’t be a “teachers vs. parents” situation, but they’ve made it so with this decision.

  26. Anonymous says:

    So basically the entire CIG has been given an extra two week holiday.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nope, only the teachers. The rest of the civil service can only take holiday if they have the holiday days left.

      • Anonymous says:

        Wrong. Any civil servant who needs to take care of their children in consequence will be “accommodated.”

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, ALL civil servants were told they were being given an extra paid vacation day off last week…in addition to their allotted vacation time and for doing such a good jpb this year….including PO workers and civil servants just hired in the last couple weeks.

        For some reason, it hasnt been publicized because as usual we dont get to know what is spent or lost of the public purse that belongs to US.

        • Anonymous says:

          It hasn’t been publicized because as usual the teachers are used as shield to cover up the inner dirty works of government. CIG knows that majority of cayman hates teachers so what better way to operate incognito than to throw a juicy diastractor out to the public.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. My kids go the Catholic some I’m disenfranchised.

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish!

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. And what arrangements is Government making for the hundreds of private sector employees effected?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think post office employees are still off on the Covid lockdown holiday, aren’t they?

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