The Clement Howell High School has been ordered shut by the government with immediate effect after two unvaccinated teachers at the institution were tested positive for COVID-19, leading authorities to believe that those educators could have exposed a number of persons, including children to the deadly disease.
“The Ministry of Education wishes to advise the general public that face-to-face learning at the Clement Howell High School will cease with immediate effect, until further notice,” a statement said.
The statement added: “The disruption to face-to-face learning is due to exposure by school personnel to COVID-19. It has been reported to the Ministry of Education that two unvaccinated teachers from the Clement Howell High School have tested positive for COVID 19 and one teacher who is unvaccinated is in quarantine as a result of contact tracing.”
The Ministry of Education stated that the school would undergo deep cleaning and sanitizing during the closed period, noting that students would resume face-to-face learning upon advice and approval from the Ministry of Health.
“In the interim, the students will resume virtual learning commencing Thursday, September 16th, 2021,” the statement added.
“The Ministry of Education further advises that one unvaccinated teacher from the Ianthe Pratt Primary School and one student from the Thelma Lightbourne Primary Schools have also tested positive for COVID 19 and these persons have been instructed to resort to virtual learning.
“The public is hereby notified that these schools have been deep cleaned and the COVID 19 Protocols have been enforced to ensure the health and safety of teachers and students.
“The general public is hereby advised that since the return to face-to-face learning, there has been no COVID 19 positive cases at the Ona Glinton Primary School. However, 14 students and one teacher were tested as requested by the principal with the approval of parents. The test results were negative, and students were allowed to resume face-to-face learning.
“The Ministry of Health has also reported that two unvaccinated teachers and three children from Private Schools have also tested Positive for COVID 19, hence the Ministry of Education is continuing to monitor the situation and will keep the general public abreast of any major developments,” the statement further declared.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Education said it has implemented various measures to ensure the health and safety of teachers and students, one of the measures, according to the ministry, is the mandatory testing program for teachers.
“Teachers are currently required to be tested once per week, however, beginning the month of October 2021, unvaccinated teachers will be required to test twice a week, while vaccinated teachers will also be encouraged to conduct regular testing. Approval is also being sort for the random testing of students,” the statement said.
“Another initiative in the fight against COVID 19 is the vaccination drive for students 12 years and older. This initiative is in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and parents are encouraged to get their children ages 12 years and older vaccinated,” statement noted, adding that more information regarding the initiatives would be disseminated during the meetings with the various PTA bodies across the country, beginning the first week in October.
“The Minister of Education Hon. Rachel Taylor would like to congratulate the schools for adhering to the COVID 19 Protocols and would like the general public to know that her Ministry is in frequent dialogue with the Health experts from the Ministry of Health in an attempt to create safer communities for the citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“The health and safety of our teachers and students are of paramount importance; hence we are taking the necessary precautions and urge teachers, students and the general public to continue to practice the safety protocols prescribed by the Ministry of Health.
“This includes getting vaccinated, wearing masks, frequent washing and sanitizing of hands, practising social distancing and remaining within the assigned spaces when at school. School administrators should seek to ensure that students remain within their bubbles at all times in order to facilitate contact tracing.
The Ministry of Education apologizes for any inconvenience and will provide updates as they need,” the statement concluded.