Mid-term break sprung on parents as teachers isolate

| 07/10/2021 | 80 Comments
From social media

(CNS): The Ministry of Education has brought forward the autumn mid-term break for government’s primary and secondary schools on Grand Cayman as a result of the outbreaks of COVID-19 and because of the number of teachers in isolation. John Gray and Clifton Hunter High Schools are both closed today (Thursday), while all the primary schools, the Further Education Centre and the Lighthouse School will close for their mid-term break on Monday.

“Over the past few weeks, a growing number of teachers have been required by Public Health to isolate,” said Education Minister Juliana O-Connor-Connolly. “The teaching staff at John Gray and Clifton Hunter has now been reduced by 16 persons for one reason or another. By closing our schools a few days earlier than initially scheduled, we hope to reduce the risk of schools having insufficient staff to function effectively.”

The sudden decision has placed parents of the high school students especially in a tight spot regarding child care as most were not expecting the half-term holiday until later this month. The early closure also extends the length of the school breaks on Grand Cayman as schools are remaining closed until Monday, 25 October, as scheduled.

Since there has been no community transmission so far in the schools on Cayman Brac, they will have the break as planned on 14 October.

“We in the Ministry of Education are cognizant of the fact that the closures, in particular those that commence [Thursday] will be somewhat inconvenient to a number of our parents, and for that, we sincerely apologise. Your understanding at this time is greatly appreciated,” she said.

Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee welcomed the early school closures as a way to keep a lid on the outbreaks that had by yesterday impacted at least ten schools. More cases have reportedly been found at additional schools but not yet reported.

“This course of action will certainly reduce the likely spread of the COVID-19 virus among our children, many of whom are unvaccinated, and lessen the need for in-school testing,” the CMO said.

Anyone with flu symptoms is urged to stay at home in the first instance and contact the 24 hour Flu Hotline or your general practitioner to speak to a health professional about those symptoms before visiting the flu or testing clinic.

Flu Hotline: 1-800-534-8600 or 345-947-3077 or 345-925- 6327 or email flu@hsa.ky
Callers will be screened for travel history and advised on what to do next.

See the vaccine schedule on the HSA website here.

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (80)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This government is sickening. Using teachers as scapegoats for their incompetence.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Will schools have to give back the extra week? No one asked for this. The students are already behind even though I do not like to say that, but we barely had time to teach having to document everything.

    We could have gone into remote learning for the extra week. Then again we are not prepared to go into remote because who was planning for this?

  3. Anonymous says:

    When do they propose to make up the lost days ,as required by the Education Law? “full-time education” means a minimum of five hours of curriculum instruction per day, excluding lunch and break times, for a total of at least one hundred and eighty-five days per year, or the equivalent hours per year, or any other duration of greater length as may be specified in regulations;”

  4. Anonymous says:

    Not sure where the idea that there’s a drastic change in the mid-term break. Note that the mid-term would have started on October 14th – October 25th. For primary schools, the break is starting 3 days earlier than originally planned. For secondary schools the break started 5 days earlier.

    Food for thought…… when children are sick with fever, coughing, runny nose, vomiting, etc, take them and get them checked instead of sending them to school sick!!

  5. MR says:

    Do we lock COVID up or let COVID go?

    “Let’s learn to live with COVID like the rest of the world” is the current anthem from many it seems.

    It makes me wonder when was the last time the persons screaming this statement have actually stopped and truly examined the condition of “the rest of the world” compared to our lives here in Cayman?

    The whole reason people want to live in Cayman, invest in Cayman and/or work in Cayman is its standard of living and safety compared to “the rest of the world”.

    Empty barrels make the most noise and those who are shouting “open up! learn to live with COVID! open the borders!” are definitely the loudest and not really because there are more of you – it is simply because intelligent people refuse to attempt to have a discussion with persons who prefer to hear their own loud voices and cannot have a sensible debate without placing labels on others who have different thoughts on a subject.

    The thumbs-down on posts under this article that link to news releases which outline the devastation happening in other countries and their hospitals due to COVID outbreaks from not keeping this nasty virus in check (even with high levels of vaccinations) speak volumes of the mentalities of those who are screaming “follow the rest of the world”.

    Cayman is extremely small, all of our supplies and food are imported; if we try to ignore every case of COVID and treat this thing like a regular “flu” sooner or later almost the entire population on this island would be COVID positive – but I guess that’s okay once we open the borders and everyone is vaccinated.

    COVID is far more contagious than a flu which means its infection rate is higher. And the usual flu has its “peak seasons” whereas COVID has been circling about all year long, through rain or shine seemingly not caring if the weather is hot or cold.

    Although research is ongoing to confirm the likelihood of catching COVID more than once; there are many people who have indeed had it more than once. Cayman’s small size means that with a major COVID outbreak that is left unchecked by not officially testing and locking down positives and contacts the way the Gov is doing, as soon as a person recovers and steps back outside chances are they will have it again.

    So when people say “let’s learn to live with COVID” what exactly are they asking for?

    You mean learn to go to school and sit with a mask on for 4 or 5 hours a day or go to work with a mask on for 8 to 10 hours a day?

    Or just say, to heck with it and we all hold hands, sing and circle while COVID sweeps on through over and over and over again indefinitely doing its little mutating thing?

    Everyone is trying to “learn to live with covid” but there are certainly limitations to that as well.

    Are you okay with a COVID+ child, teacher or coworker coming in while Covid+?

    Should we allow COVID+ people to go to the store the way people can when they have a normal flu? Is that “learning to live with it”?

    No one gets put off a plane when they have a flu – should COVID+ people be able to board the plane with you and your family when travelling or would you prefer Gov to keep doing what their doing with not allowing them to do so?

    Should we start making COVID+ people dine in restaurants as well? Perhaps only the vaccinated COVID+ people if that makes you all feel better?

    Maybe it’s time to let all the COVID+ people out of quarantine so they can get back to work and school and stop this nonsense with closing schools early?

    I’d think we can have all the COVID+ people sit at work next to all the persons who insist we have to “learn to live with covid, get vaccinated and stop these quarantine periods for travellers”… or maybe the persons with that opinion can be assigned to serve the COVID+ tables in restaurants and conduct their tours once we open the borders and let everybody in?

    Problem then though would be – we won’t actually even know who is COVID+ and who is not… because in order to learn to live with it, we might as well stop testing for it and get on with normal lives so that business can stop losing money and people can get back to work.

    Yes, this is what the rest of the world is trying to do as hospitals fill up, more deaths get recorded, vaccinated and unvaccinated people fight for their lives on ventilators and people fortunate enough to not have caught it yet run their mouths on social media “let’s learn to live with it, open the borders”.

    • Smithers says:

      You posit a false dichotomy, between isolation and an unchecked free for all. That is intellectually dishonest. Countries that are now open and back to close to normality still require those testing positive to isolate. Broad use of lateral flow testing, despite its flaws, helps to mitigate against many of the more hysterical hypotheticals you use to imagine life “living with covid”.

      Other than isolating forever, when it comes to opening up if not now when? Zero covid has been abandoned by the rest of the world, even New Zealand now. Vaccination has reduced covid’s mortality rates to the point that comparisons to flu are now rational, rather than the dangerous wittering of crazed followers of orange-tinted US Presidents.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Empty barrels make the most noise and those who are shouting “open up! learn to live with COVID! open the borders!”” – Says the guy who is still able to provide for his family.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Doesn’t the education Council/law mandate a certain number of days education for students each year? How is this going to be adhered to if schools are shut and not even open for remote teaching? Will the extra days be added on to the end of the year for Grand Cayman schools only? And could someone from the Ministry explain to us why remote teaching is not an option spring this period? There was so much trumpeting about how they had prepared and provided all students with laptops and paid for WiFi for homes that didn’t have it and now because 8 out of 100 teachers per school are isolating (not ill mind you, just isolating) the schools have just been shut with remote learning even being considered!

    CNS maybe you could ask the Ministry these questions for us and see if they have any response…

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you very much. I’m a teacher and I can tell you the ministry does not know how the school functions when staff is down by 8. Teachers provide internal covers when colleagues are out sick or on appointments. That’s how it works and it works. So closing school because a few teachers are out is BS. Next schools are suddenly closed with no consideration given to online classes. What was the purpose of handing out laptops? This rash illogical closure of schools reminds me of March 2020 when the island went into lock down after a fancy document, detailing the STEPS we would take if a covid out break happened, was released

    • Anonymous says:

      See 7:19pm above

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Anonymous says:

    Online learning and working from home should be considered for those who can.

    • Anonymous says:

      School should be open.

      • Anonymous says:

        I agree with both statements. Yes schools should be open.

        But since we freak out whenever a positive case shows up and quarantine all the parents of that class…

        Until we commit to schools being open without threat of widespread quarantines, we need to offer online learning.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Presumably now all the parents whose livelihoods have been affected by this gross mismanagement will be compensated by PACT?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Poor Wayne the choices one has to make to become premier. Elvis would have been a better education minister.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sold his soul for the throne. Sad really.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is what schools were doing back in 2020. So far behind the times.

      • Anonymous says:

        Even more sad is his association with MacKeeva, Saunders, Bryan and Jay who are now in positions way beyond their intellectual and moral competence.
        Their combined self seeking lust for power will drag Cayman below the levels
        of Jamaican ghetto politics.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Given that we are noting the lack of preparation for the inevitable, when are the boosters going to be available?

    More research out today shows that Pfizer’s effectiveness at preventing clinical infection drops to 20% after a few months.


    • Anonymous says:

      For boosters, check the HSA.ky website for schedule.

      This week for the clinically extremely vulnerable (by invitation only). Next week for 70+ years. All at the Lions Centre.

      Schedule for last two weeks of October will be out shortly, but will cascade down by age/vulnerabilities. Lets get the above two priority groups done first.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why do them first? Surely we can put boosters into the arms of the earliest vaccinated simultaneously! Open the airport clinic over the weekend for 50+ to get their boosters ASAP.

      • anon says:

        1.07 pm. The U.K. has said it is vital for the elderly to get a flu shot prior to this winter “season” which will be bad this year. Our Flu Hotline advised me they don’t have a clue when we will get ours.

  12. Some thoughts for public discussion says:

    Where is the leadership that is willing to stand up and admit that it is possible to live with community spread of Covid-19?

    Where is the leadership that prioritizes the mental wellbeing of our children and their need to have stability, and receive a proper education instead of pandering to the fearful, ignorant and/or anti vaxxers that wish us to magically eradicate Covid-19 via lockdowns?

    Where is the leadership that will protect the mental health of Caymanian parents from a draconian 14 isolation period any time a person sneezed next to their child?

    Who will save this island from the poverty, isolation and failure this PACT Government is bringing on our people?

    Are we following in the path of Manley famously reminded Middle Class Jamaicans that there were “five flights a day to Miami”?

    Will Cayman revert to being the islands that time had forgotten all due to the inability to accept the inventible spread of mostly mild Covid-19 amongst our highly vaccinated population?

    Has the government secured Mono-Clonal Antibodies for early treatment of Covid cases?

    Did we send our medical staff to train in US hospitals so that they can learn how to save lives by using steroids, proning and other therapeutics or are we going to be relying on outdated Ventilator advice from WHO in March 2020?

    Can we get a mental health counselor on the program board?

    The sooner we discuss these topics the more prepared we will be for what lies ahead for Cayman in the coming months.

    Happy Thursday!

    • anonymous says:

      The only part of your statement that is anything but dangerous misinformation is the need for mental health counseling. I think you and and a shocking amount of people are currently willing to let others get hurt so you can make money. Seems like a little mental health counseling is in order for you and anyone promoting “living with COVID” like the rest of the world. Kind of like living with COVID in America means that 700,000+ people had to die. No big deal right? the ugly selfishness on display is saddening and history will look back on your statements with shame and regret.

      Instead of shouting these horrifying lies into the internet, why dont you make yourself part of a community solution that focuses on the reality that we are facing a difficult problem that deserves respectful ideas and cautious choices. Do your own part to make the transition easier and educate others about practical means of handling this situation without hurting anyone else.

      Of course, that would require some painful soul searching and reflection on your past statements and I realize that it is hard to accept when you have been hurtful to others. Maybe it is too much to expect that people are basically good and that all these horrible lies being spread are just out of fear or frustration. I hope it is possible to bring people back to reality from such dark and ugly waters, but it has to be a choice that you, and so many others like yourself make on your own. We face so many problems nowadays, maybe it is impossible, but we miss you, we need your help and we would love to see you healthy and happy again. Stop letting bullies and loudmouths fuel your thoughts and allow more level and loving words to reach you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Dear 12:42 pm,

        A shocking dose of reality is in store for all of us as we will watch Covid spread to every corner of these precious islands, no matter what we do. It is inventible and we must prepare for it.

        A healthy debate about how to so is in order, instead of mudslinging, shaming and magical thinking that this can be eradicated.

        Reminds me of the parable they tell:

        Scientists once determined that the world is going to be destroyed by catastrophic flooding the world over in two weeks. Not one inch of land will remain.

        The earth will be totally underwater. There is nothing that can be done to prevent this catastrophe.

        So the nations convene their greatest leaders and call on them to prepare their people for the end.

        Some preached repentance while others spoke of acceptance and equanimity.
        Finally one wise man rose and said:
        “We have two weeks to learn how to live underwater.”

        • MR says:

          Was the man wise or insane?

          Surely after several thousand years on earth and no human civilizations having lived under water you would be sensible enough to know it would not happen in two weeks. If he had suggested “build floating houses/buildings” maybe we could call him wise.

          Your parable is all the more reason now to wonder if it is wise to think we should accept “everyone at some point catching COVID” or recognize the fact that weeks ago we were all living COVID free in practically the only country in the world who could boast about that. Now we’re scrambling like maniacs to avoid this nasty virus while being indoctrinated to think “we MUST live with it” when in fact, few weeks ago we were living without it perfectly fine.

      • Anonymous says:

        Condescending pompous response 12:42pm I can practically HEAR your finger pointing at the computer as you typed that.
        You must be up there pretty high to be scowling down your beak as you pounded it out on the keyboard.
        I bet you’re fun at parties.

      • Anonymous says:

        Spend 16 days incarcerated in a small apartment with a few kids and your spouse. Even prisoners get an hour a day in the yard. Parents are unable to work, kids are unable to go to school. It’s stupid, pointless and ridiculous and needs to stop.

        CIG’s time would be much better spent worrying about educating our youth, fixing the dump, coming up with solutions for traffic and investigating corruption and cronyism in government.

        • Anonymous says:

          16 days? That’s a small price to pay to keep people out of the hospital. Many people would be happy if they could spend 16 days with a family member of friend that they lost to Covid.

          • Say it like it is says:

            12.46pm The problem is too many people are spending time with family members or friends that are still hale and hearty, the problem being they are in quarantine.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully this fiasco has taught whoever in government that proactive measures are better than floundering when the inevitable happens.

    With that in mind would government please start the process of acquiring the new anti-Covid drugs that are supposed to be approved in the UK next month so that they arrive before they are needed and not 6 months later?


  14. Anonymous says:

    They really don’t know what they’re doing bless them. Tough when there’s so little grey matter to assist decision making.

  15. Anonymous says:

    9 Sept 2021 – “HSA CEO Lizzette Yearwood reassured the community that the hospital was more than ready to deal with a return of the virus and that it was well stocked with the necessary treatments and well equipped.”


  16. Anonymous says:

    How is this going to alleviate the spread, these kids, some of whom will be asymptomatic, will now be running around out of school for an extra week and sharing the virus around. Rather than reduce numbers watch for a spike in a few weeks.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Dats wha ya get for having kids!

  18. Anonymous says:

    So damn ridiculous! Between quarantine and extra break, some of these children are missing over a month of school. Talk about being behind.

  19. Anonymous says:

    At least the real schools are still open, someone cares about the children.

  20. Anonymous says:

    can start a petition for direct rule asap?

  21. Anonymous says:

    another day in wonderland…
    and what happens when they re-open and have another outbreak?…..bring christmas holidays forward????
    thank god for no-plan-pact

    • Sheriff says:

      @10:28pm – Forget the Christmas holidays lets just jump to summer break on October 25. Who needs school anyway? I mean kids are already behind in their education, so why even bother? Parents don’t need to go to work. It’s all good, PACT clearly has a plan and they know what’s best for all of us. NOT!

  22. Anonymous says:

    1.35 million on 3500 laptops to ensure continuity of education…

  23. Anonymous says:

    Mark Ray (August 2021) – “Considering the planned reopening of our borders and the fact that we are experiencing quite an active hurricane season, we have updated our continuity plan to ensure that we are ready for any eventuality. I am confident that we will be able to forge ahead with remote teaching and learning as needed,” he said

  24. Anonymous says:

    Government needs to get its act together ASAP and absolutely before importing more Covid. We need to avoid a headline like this one from today’s news.

    “Alaska hospitals make wrenching decisions as they begin to ration care

    With Covid cases soaring and medical centers short of staff, doctors are forced to choose which patients to treat.”

    • Anonymous says:

      If our health care system is creaking now, just wait until the borders are opened.
      If a waiter is tested positive will the restaurant close, ? if masses of teachers test positive will the schools close again ?
      At what cost to the community are we willing to pander to multi millionaire restaurant and hotel owners who are making less money than they want..?

      • Anonymous says:

        Multi-millionaire restaurant owners??? Obviously you are not aware how the restaurant business functions. Talk with some of the owners and see what’s happening.

        • Anonymous says:

          Dart owns the Ritz and it’s many restaurants, which part of that statement do you have trouble with ? Not saying they are all wealthy but let’s not pretend they are all poor either.

          • Anonymous says:

            You worried about Dart? Dart can and will survive much longer than big spending CIG.

      • Anonymous says:

        – seek health
        – have your meals prepared at home
        – online learning; online teaching
        – worry about yourself

    • Anonymous says:

      Administer the boosters to the 50+ ASAP!!!

  25. Will Will says:

    Just when you thought the hysteria could not get worse.

    The rest of the world, even New Zealand, has abandoned zero covid strategies. Delta’s infection rate means they make no sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually NZ has adopted the sensible system the government is abandoning. All tourists must have verifiable vaccination and undergo an enforced 14 day quarantine before being let loose on the NZ population. NZ Tourist facilities are swamped with clients wanting to do that.

      • Anonymous says:

        The tourist facilities are not swamped with clients – they aren’t even opening until November and then have the same concerns with travellers not wanting to quarantine for 14 days that Cayman has.

        It is sensible that they’ve decided to abandon their zero covid policy and will be using vaccine passports for high-risk places like restaurants and bars.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Worst Education Minister ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      You seem to have forgotten about Roy and Truman but yes, close.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amateurs , da wa ya get.

    • Anonymous says:

      She’s been terrible in every ministry she’d been a part of. Except when she drove the steamroller – that was epic. And when she washed Duncan Taylor’s feet. That was a little creepy, but unique.

      • Anonymous says:

        She washed Taylor’s feet so that his feet is clean and heart is pure when he kicked Mac in the backside for trying to get CHEC to build our cruise port.

    • Anonymous says:

      We’ve known that for over a decade now and people still keep voting her in!!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    What a gong show. I feel sorry for the kids. One more reason Caymanian kids are left behind in the workforce.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not a gong show – if it were a gong show, these incompetent clowns would have been hauled off the stage long ago.

  28. Anonymous says:

    You were right Mr Panton, no we weren’t prepared.

    • Caymanian says:

      More clearly. YOU were not prepared.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:10, thank you very much for the all caps ‘YOU’, – means a lot, I’ve never considered myself that important 🤹🏻‍♀️

    • Anonymous says:

      1) We were not prepared.

      2) We are clearly still not prepared.

      3) We will not be for some time.

      Government needs to identify and then understand the myriad problems and mitigation opotions before they can start to prepare.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who do we blame for that?

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