Start of school delayed

| 01/09/2008

(CNS): Following the passing of Hurricane Gustav, the Education Ministry has announced that all government schools in Grand Cayman will open for the commencement of the new academic year on Thursday, 4 September, as opposed to Wednesday, 3 September. On the Sister Islands, schools will not open until Monday, 8 September.

According to a release from the Education Ministry, this short delay in opening schools in Grand Cayman, which is in part necessary because many school buildings are used for shelter space, will ensure that all facilities are cleaned and fully operational.

Many government schools in Grand Cayman have special orientation days for new students, some of which are scheduled to take place before the start of term and the return of the rest of the school’s student population. In Grand Cayman, students and parents starting at a new secondary school should note the following arrangements for the George Hicks Campus and the John Gray High School.

· The George Hicks Campus will hold an Induction Day on Tuesday, 2 September, for all Year 7 students, starting at 8:00 am and finishing at 12:15 pm. All John Gray High School students, including new students, should report on Thursday, 4 September.

Parents and guardians of students beginning a new primary school in Grand Cayman are advised that registration for new students of John A. Cumber Primary will take place tomorrow (Tuesday 2 September) at the school hall between 8:00 am and 12 noon. Parents of students who will be starting any other primary school in Grand Cayman should contact the relevant primary school for any orientation arrangements.

All education professionals in Grand Cayman are advised that Monday, 1 September, and Tuesday, 2 September, will be used as school planning days. All staff should therefore report to their respective schools on these days. There will also be a principals’ meeting at 2:30 pm on Monday, 1 September, at Countryside.

Professional development for education professionals, which was scheduled for last week in Grand Cayman, will now take place on Wednesday, 3 September, at the Westin Hotel. Please note that there will only be one day of professional development in Grand Cayman at this time and that all education professionals will be advised in due course of the re-scheduling of the second planned day of professional development activities in Grand Cayman.

In Cayman Brac, where there was minor damage in some schools, it has been decided to delay the commencement of the new academic year for all government schools until Monday, 8 September. This should ensure that repairs to all facilities will be completed before students start the school year.

This should also facilitate the planned two days of professional development for education professionals in Cayman Brac. Provided flights can be secured, professional development in Cayman Brac will now take place on Thursday and Friday, 4 and 5 September, at the Brac Reef Hotel. As soon as these arrangements can be confirmed, all education professionals will be advised accordingly. In the meantime, all school staff should report to their respective schools.

The schools in Cayman Brac have already completed the orientation for new students earlier in the year, although if parents of students due to join a new school in Cayman Brac are in any way unclear about the arrangements for their child, they are advised to contact the relevant school directly.

It is also anticipated that the Little Cayman Education Service, which currently caters for two students, will re-open on Monday, 8 September, although this is dependent upon the resumption of electricity supply. Parents of Little Cayman students will be advised on its re-opening as soon as more information on the electricity supply is available.

In a release, Education Minister Alden McLaughlin thanked all education professionals at this time for their dedication to duty and for their commitment to an exciting new school year ahead. Commenting on the passing of Hurricane Gustav, he said, “The Cayman Islands has indeed been fortunate. With some minimal delays, the new academic year will commence shortly in all three Cayman Islands. With many school facilities contributing to the provision of shelter space, this is only possible with the dedication and hard work of school staff, for which I thank each and every one of you.

"I would also like to express my gratitude to the Department of Education Services, who went to great lengths to ensure that new education professionals who have recently arrived from overseas were well looked after. It has certainly been a challenging start to their careers here in Cayman, but I trust that their dedication will not be diminished and that they are well set to make a valuable contribution to the development of the education service in these Islands.”






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