Cayman’s schools are set to reopen in September, Premier Alden McLaughlin has confirmed.
There have been calls by some parents for the current school year to be restarted due to the challenges faced by students following the school closures in March.
However, McLaughlin said it’s not an option government intends to consider.
“While I know there’s been a lot of talk around [restarting the school year], I do not believe any decision has been taken to essentially, as has been suggested by some people, … write off the … school year and start all over again. I do not believe that is what is being proposed,” he said.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee said there are no plans at the moment to test students or teachers before they return to local classrooms, “unless, of course, there’s an outbreak that may change the decision”.
As of Thursday afternoon, Cayman had 193 positive COVID-19 cases. No new cases were reported on Wednesday or Thursday.
Lee said this week that the sampling so far has shown that Cayman does not appear to have any outbreaks or clusters that are causing infections widely.
“I am really reassured by this. That is why we’re moving down the lockdown to Level 2 and, hopefully, to Level 1,” Lee said.
He said there were no plans to test everybody in the Cayman Islands. “We are continuing to do sampling of the most … at-risk groups and we are working our way very well through those groups,” he added.
On Wednesday, the premier announced that Cayman would move into Suppression Level 2 on Sunday morning. This includes the lifting of the hard curfew and shelter-in-place restrictions.
Also on Wednesday, Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly appeared on government radio station Radio Cayman, along with Education Chief Officer Cetonya Cacho and other ministry officials, to respond to recommendations made by the Office of Education Standards in its report last week on home schooling.
She also said schools will reopen as scheduled in September.
A request was made to have the minister and her team return to the regular press briefings to update parents on plans for Cayman’s schools.
She and her team last appeared at a briefing on 15 April.
During the radio interview, Cacho said guidelines for the schools’ reopening will be released by the ministry.