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The Control And Management of COVID-19 Regulations, 2021 are in effect as of Friday, 24th September, 2021.  Read more

12 minute read

Advice For Parents & Guardians

Cayman Islands Government
Published: September 17 2021
Last Updated: October 14, 2021

You may be wondering about the current advice for parents and guardians in light of the latest COVID-19 figures in September 2021.

Scroll through this document or click on the links below to read answers from the Ministry of Education.

Vaccination

  1. Is my child eligible to be vaccinated?
  2. Is there a mandate for teachers to be vaccinated?
  3. Will my child be able to get the COVID-19 vaccination at school? 

Medical Health


General

  1. What is the best way to keep my child safe during COVID19 outbreak?

  2. What are the safety protocols recommended for schools?

  3. What measures have the Ministry of Education (MoE)/Department of Education Services (DES) implemented to safeguard children? 
  4. How and when will schools update protocols for COVID-19?
  5. What prevention strategies are you currently using to keep my child safe in school?
  6. What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 at my child’s school/institution?
  7. How will the Ministry of Education/Department of Education Services keep parents and guardians updated on any changes in the school’s prevention strategies?

Masks


Special Accommodations

  1. What should I do if my child has been diagnosed with complex medical needs? 

Cleaning & Disinfection

  1. How often are Government schools cleaned and disinfected? 

Physical Distancing

  1. Does my child need to observe physical distancing at school?
  2. Does my child need to observe physical distancing on the school bus?
  3. Does my child need to sanitise before boarding the school bus? 

Mealtime

  1. What are schools doing to keep students safe when they are eating meals?
  2. Does my child need to bring their water bottle to school? 

Visitor Access

  1. Are you allowing visitors on school campuses?

Play & Extra-curricular Activities

  1. Can my child access the playground and participate in extra-curricular activities? 

 

 

Vaccination

Is my child eligible to be vaccinated?

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to everyone aged 12 years and older. The schedule for vaccination clinics can be found here.

 

Is there a mandate for teachers to be vaccinated? 

Teachers are not mandated to be vaccinated at this time. However, the Department of Education Services within the Ministry of Education will continue to follow the advice of the Public Health Department.

 

Will my child be able to get the COVID-19 vaccination at school?

Schools do not currently offer onsite vaccination. The list of vaccination clinics/sites can be found here.

 

 

Medical Health

What should I do if my child feels unwell? 

Anyone who feels unwell, whether they are a student, staff member or parent/guardian, should not attend an educational institution.

You can take our online COVID-19 self-assessment here or register for screening here. We advise anyone who has questions to call your GP or the 24-hour Flu Hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 (Digicel), or email flu@hsa.ky

If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19), you are advised to take the following additional precautions:
  • Do not visit a medical centre or hospital; if it is an emergency like you are having trouble breathing, call 911
  • Do not go to work
  • Do not use public transport
  • Do not use taxis
  • Do not go to school
  • Do not be in public areas

Read more about COVID-19 here.

 

What happens if my child becomes exposed to the COVID 19 virus? 

Anyone, whether they are a student, staff member or parent/guardian, that becomes exposed to the COVID-19 virus should not attend an educational institution. 

We advise anyone who has questions to call your GP or the 24-hour Flu Hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 (Digicel), or email flu@hsa.ky

If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19), you are advised to take the following additional precautions:
  • Do not visit a medical centre or hospital; if it is an emergency like you are having trouble breathing, call 911
  • Do not go to work
  • Do not use public transport
  • Do not use taxis
  • Do not go to school
  • Do not be in public areas

Read more about COVID-19 here.

 

If my child has to stay home due to illness (or isolation), what strategies will be employed to ensure a continuity of learning?

The Ministry of Education has provided all students enrolled in Government schools with digital devices (such as laptops or iPads), procured a variety of learning software and made LTE modems available for those most in need of this assistance to facilitate a smooth transition to remote learning as needed. However, students who are unwell and at home are not expected to continue with learning until they are feeling better.

 

What Do I do if I am told to isolate With My Household until called for testing?

If you are told to isolate by Public Health you must stay at home.

  • Do not visit a medical centre or hospital; if it is an emergency like you are having trouble breathing, call 911
  • Do not go to work
  • Do not use public transport
  • Do not use taxis
  • Do not go to school
  • Do not be in public areas
  • Do not leave your property

If you have been told to isolate it is because there is a potential that you or your family have been exposed to COVID-19. Public Health will call you with instructions for COVID-19 testing but, until that point, it is essential that you remain isolated.

When you are called for testing, and only then, you can go wherever Public Health tells you to go to get tested. You must remain isolated until you are told otherwise.

 

What does it mean if my child is identified by school as a ‘close contact’?

This means your child was exposed to someone with COVID-19. When your child is identified as a close contact, your child needs to follow testing and quarantine guidance from the local Public Health department via your school. Quarantine is a very important public health tool used to stop many kinds of infectious diseases from spreading including COVID 19.
 
 

Is it safe for my child to go to school if someone else in the household is at a high risk for contracting COVID-19?

It depends – your child is safest when your school is using masking with layered prevention strategies and if you are able to also use layered prevention strategies at home such as  wearing of masks , screening for illness everyday staying at home when sick, cleaning and disinfecting  frequently and practicing proper hand hygiene . One way to help protect everyone is to make sure that all adults and eligible youth in a household are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
 
 

Should my child stay home if they show COVID-19 signs or symptoms?

Yes, they should stay home.
 
They should also get tested for COVID-19.
 
It is very important that your child not attend in-person school when they have signs and symptoms. With symptoms, your child should also not gather in public places, play sports, participate in extracurricular activities, or socialise in-person with people who do not live in your household. This is also true if your child is showing any symptoms of other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu. Ask your school about online learning options during quarantine and isolation.

 

General

What is the best way to keep my child safe during COVID19 outbreak?

The best way to keep children safe is about prevention. The primary goal is to prevent as many infections as we possibly can.  Making sure your children have clean hands by washing their hands with soap and water. Where water is not available, you should encourage your children to use an alcohol-based rub (hand - sanitizer). Make sure that your children also practice proper hygiene where they sneeze or cough into their elbow. These are good habits to be forming for children as they get older. Make sure that if they're age appropriate to follow the local guidance to wear a mask appropriately.

 

What are the safety protocols recommended for Educational Institutes?

The safety protocols for schools (public or private) are included in the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 Guidance for Educational Institutions here.

Educational institutions include: public or private schools; early childhood care and education (ECCE) centres; and other institutions providing education (e.g. alternative education placements, tutoring centres, post-compulsory educational organisations, colleges/universities, etc.). 

 

What measures has the Ministry of Education implemented to safeguard children? 

The Ministry of Education is committed to the health and safety of students and continue to follow the advice of the Public Health.

The following measures have been implemented to provide a healthy environment for our children:

  • COVID-19 Guidance for Educational Institutions. Available here
  • Facilitating updates to schools’ Continuity of Operations Plan
  • Regular cleaning and sanitation in schools
  • Procurement of masks for students and educators and
  • Mandating that students wear masks while on the school buses 

 

How and when will Government schools update protocols for COVID-19?

Schools will soon update their COVID-19 protocols based on the Ministry of Education’s most recent guidance document dated 10 September 2021.This is available here.

 

What prevention strategies are you currently using to keep my child safe in school?

The Ministry of Education has prepared a guidance document for Educational Institutions that includes several health and safety measures, including:

  • Cleaning & disinfection
  • Social distancing
  • Transportation
  • Hand hygiene
  • Respiratory etiquette
  • Routine care
  • Visitor access
  • Drinking water 


What happens if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 at my child’s school/institution?

If a suspected case of COVID-19 is identified in your child’s school/institution, the school/institution will:
  • Notify Public Health of a suspected case of student
  • Separate the student from the main student body in a secure and comfortable environment until released to the parent/guardian
  • Ensure the student is supervised at all times in line with child protection  guidelines
  • Notify the Director of the Department of Education Services (DES) or Ministry of Education
  • In the case of a member of staff, the individual will contact Public Health and self-isolate as a precautionary measure.

 

Masks

Does the wearing of masks for an extended period pose any risks to my child?

No, wearing a mask does not increase risk from germs or bacteria, and does not increase carbon dioxide levels for children. It is important to store your child’s mask properly and wash it regularly to keep it clean. Consider having your child bring more than one mask to school to easily replace a dirty or wet mask with a clean one.

 

Is my child required to wear a mask on the school bus? 

All children, ages five and above, must wear masks while on school buses.

 

Is my child required to wear a mask to school?

All students over the age of five and staff in Educational Institutions are expected to wear masks while riding the bus, moving through the school compound, indoors, and in a group setting, if unable to maintain a distance of six feet from others.
 
Masks may be removed when playing outdoors, eating, or working independently at one’s desk.
 
Students who are unable to put on and take off masks without assistance and teachers who rely on mouth cues such as lip reading for communication with students are exempt but distance should be maintained. The Ministry of Education will continue to work with Public Health to further fine-tune this guidance where necessary.

Are masks required during outdoor play or physical activity?

No masks are required for outdoor play as long as physical distance is maintained.

Special Accommodations

What should I do if my child has been diagnosed with complex medical needs? 

Parents, guardians and carers of children with complex medical needs (including but not limited to underlying respiratory and cardiovascular conditions) should seek advice from the child’s health practitioner to support informed risk assessment and decision-making about whether onsite education is suitable.

Parents, guardians and carers of children of compulsory school age (ages 5 – 17) who are out of school for an extended period for medical reasons should electronically submit documentation to the child’s school.

 

Cleaning & Disinfection

How often are Government schools cleaned and disinfected?

Routine cleaning takes place in high-touch surfaces and spaces within Government schools throughout the day to ensure that transmission risks are reduced. Ventilation and air-conditioning systems are also regularly maintained.

 

Physical Distancing

Does my child need to observe physical distancing at school?

Students are encouraged to respect others’ personal space and maintain physical distance of three to six feet.


Does my child need to observe physical distancing on the school bus?

Students must be seated to allow for physical distancing on the school bus where possible.


Does my child need to sanitise before boarding the school bus?

Students, bus drivers, and wardens should sanitise their hands upon boarding the school bus.

 

Mealtime

What are schools doing to keep students safe when they are eating meals?

Eating areas are regularly wiped down and disinfected to maintain good hygiene. Students must observe physical distancing when eating and avoid sharing food.

 

Does my child need to bring their water bottle to school?

Children and students must bring their water bottles for use (and refilling) as drinking fountains have been switched off.

 

Visitor Access

 

Are you allowing visitors on school campuses? And if so, what procedures are you using for guests?

Visitors are still allowed on school campuses. All visitors to Government schools are expected to wear masks.

Each school has established a system for recording persons who enter the premises throughout the day. Information such as name, time of entry and exit, the reason for visit/who they are visiting and contact details is recorded.

 

Play & Extra-curricular Activities

Can my child access the playground and participate in extra-curricular activities?

Children can access the playground in small groups as scheduled by the school.

 

 

Tags: COVID-19, Guidance, parents