Covid-19 is putting its mark on the STEM Carib conference once more.
Last year, the pandemic forced cancellation of the annual conference promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This year, a rash of community-based cases in recent weeks has once more led organizers at the University College of the Cayman Islands to postpone the event, which was scheduled for Nov. 3-5. The conference will be held instead in Spring 2022, with dates to be announced.
STEM Carib is a chance to expose Cayman school children to a broad array of science-related fields of study, encouraging them to consider pursuing such subjects. Typically, it has drawn keynote speakers and other participants from beyond the Cayman Islands, offering opportunities for adults and families to participate as well.
Assistant professor Antionette Gayle, who directs the conference, said safety was the key concern in postponing the conference, as well as the new regulations on public events and on off-island visitors.
“We had been keeping our fingers crossed that everything would work out,” Gayle said. “Unfortunately, with the recently reported Covid-19 cases, the health risk and the restrictions on gatherings made it impossible to hold the kind of conference we envisioned.”
Rather than wait until the in-person conference in the spring to do anything, Gayle is planning a series of virtual programmes for local schools. She also hopes to tap into the UK’s mobile natural history museum to bring some additional science to Cayman classrooms.
Dates for these events will be announced in the coming weeks.