Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2020. 8:35 am CST.
By BBN Staff: Cayo Center for Employment Training (Cayo CET) has concluded 11 weeks of practical training without any confirmed cases of COVID-19.
But how did the institution manage all its health and protocols with approximately 200 students?
BBN’s Zoila Gonzalez spoke to Cayo CET’s Manager, Mr. Edilto Romero who explained some of the strict measures in place for students, administration, and staff to achieve such a feat.
The 11-week consecutive practical face-to-face trainings resumed on September 22nd and went through to December 4th, 2020.
According to Romero, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution completed about 20 weeks of practical training in 2020 post the national shutdown. The first eight set of weeks were completed from June to August and then from September to December, in guidance with the Ministry of Education. Back in June 2020 the Ministry of Education had authorized for practical training to be conducted at the ITVETs.
Romero says that during lockdown the institution had also engaged students in online distance learning for subjects such as English and Math but since the institution is technical and vocational, practical training sessions were needed.
In addition, there was only about 50% participation for the online distance learning.
Romero explained that most trade programs consist of about 15 to 20 students. The institution’s first step was to divide the classes so that at any one given time, there was a maximum of 10 students in a class. The institution adopted morning and afternoon sessions to cater for all their students.
Class markers, as well as building markers, were placed to keep students 4 to 6 feet apart from each other.
Some of the protocols also included the mandatory sanitization at the gates, washing of hands and the sanitizing of work stations/facilities before and after each session. Masks were mandatory and to be worn at all times.
Everyone entering the campus, including staff, were also required to check temperatures at the gates.
Romero says that during breaks, instructors and staff monitored students to avoid any gatherings. Break time also varied for different group of students.
“ It must have taken the first two weeks of the strict enforcement of the regulations after which students got used to it,” Romero said.
The institution routinely reminded the students of the safety protocols and ensured that the trainees completed their daily tasks and go home as soon as the bell rang.
Instructors and administration stressed that students must make it their personal responsibility to take care of themselves. Important to note is that 60% of Cayo CET’s student population are adults.
Another procedure was that students were advised if they felt ill or had any symptoms to remain at home.
Romero said that it took a lot of planning, monitoring, and ensuring everyone followed procedures to allow for the trainings to go without any cases of the virus.
The staff of 25 also worked on shift basis and the protocols were sanctioned by the institutions Board of Governors. Cayo CET’s board, management, and faculty firmly believes in advancing Belize’s workforce needs post the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the last week of classes, there were about 2 instances of concern with people feeling ill and reporting in sick, but those who got tested all tested negative for COVID-19.
Notably, Cayo CET is the only Technical vocational institution not fully financed by the Government, it is a grant-aided institution.
Romero also extended gratitude to industry partners that allowed trainees and instructors to do practicals at their establishments such as Cahal Pech Village Resort, Recinos Imports, and Chef Sean Kuylen among others.
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