***Editor’s Note: Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Office of Education Standards is conducting one-day ‘thematic visits’ to Cayman Islands schools in the Spring 2022 term in lieu of more in-depth inspections. (Click to expand.)
(Read our story on the decision here.) OES recently published the first batch of reports from these visits, which will eventually involve 31 government and private schools and culminate in a national report. The Current will publish a story on each individual school, as well as stories from a more comprehensive perspective.***
Leaders at Edna M. Moyle Primary School have focussed on the mental well-being of students and staff through the pandemic, while maintaining a positive and familial atmosphere in the school, an Office of Education Standards inspector said.
Many students and some staff said they did not feel safe from COVID-19 at the public school in North Side, and the school was unable to deliver ‘synchronous’ lessons for students and isolation. However, staff indicated that students still continued to make academic progress over the past 2 years, according to a letter to Edna Moyle Principal Danielle Duran from Senior Inspector Carol Bennett.
“There was a very positive ethos throughout the school. Staff reported that the school
community was like a family,” Bennett said.
“The Principal and other Senior Leadership Team members demonstrated an exemplary attitude towards creating a safe and supportive environment for students, staff and families.”
The visit occurred on 10 Feb. and the inspector’s summary is dated 17 Feb.
“We did not find any significant concerns” during the school visit, the inspector said.
Unlike full inspection reports, the inspectors do not assign graded judgments to schools as a result of the one-day visits. Inspectors conduct interviews with school leadership, teachers and administration, as well as reviewing documentation.
Bennett said the mental health needs of students and staff were well supported by senior leadership and pastoral teams.
“The School Counsellor provided wellbeing information for staff via a weekly email and
opportunities for staff to speak with the Counsellor if needed. Staff reported they would also be supported by Senior Leadership if they wished to seek mental health support from other agencies. Staff also shared that they felt Senior Leaders were empathetic and this helped with their well-being during this very demanding time,” she said.
The school had moved parent meetings and Parent Teacher Association meetings online, which resulted in increased participation.
In terms of online classes, the school was not yet able to conduct ‘synchronous lessons’ where the same class is taught to in-person students and virtually to students in isolation, the inspector said, citing “the lack of appropriate technological resources”.
Despite these challenges, students were still making academic progress.
“The Heads of Departments reported that the students continue to make progress throughout this time while a majority of responses to the staff survey also indicated that students were continuing to make progress,” Bennett said.
The school had implemented a number of public health measures related to COVID, such as regular and thorough cleaning, ‘bubble’ groups for students, mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing.
Students and staff still expressed anxiety over the risk of COVID in the school.
“Although responses to both student and staff surveys confirmed that the majority of persons understood the COVID19 safety protocols at the school, only 55% and 69% respectively responded that they felt safe at the school during the pandemic,” she said.