Second school closes over COVID-19 fears

For the second time in less than a week, a primary school in T&T has been forced shut and staff and students sent into self-quarantine over fears they may have contracted COVID-19 through a pupil’s relative.

The Tacarigua Presbyterian Primary School closed yesterday after the father of an 11-year-old Standard 5 student attending Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) preparation classes tested positive for the virus.

The news has so scared parents across the country that some are now refusing to send their children to school for further SEA classes.

Guardian Media learned yesterday, however, that this situation was brewing since another SEA pupil at the Maraval RC tested positive for the virus last week and there is also call for the exam to be either postponed again or brought forward from August 20.

Noting parents’ concerns yesterday, National Parent Teachers’ Association (NPTA) acting president Clarence Mendoza said his membership believes the exam should be postponed or brought forward to limit the possibility of further exposure for students and staff.

“They are clearly stating that at this point in time, the Ministry of Education under the directive of the Chief Personnel Officer, that all schools with their exams should be postponed until further notice. Our students’ lives are at risk and I don’t think we should go any further in looking at August 20 to put forth an examination,” Mendoza told Guardian Media in a telephone interview.

The NPTA, he said, is also seeking an urgent meeting with all stakeholders on the developments.
T&T Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) meanwhile president Antonia Tekah-De Freitas said they will be meeting Ministry of Education officials today on the development. She said the ministry’s previous COVID guidelines may need adjusting based on what they’ve witnessed in recent days. In the meantime, she advised members to “do what you have to do to safeguard yourself and let us follow all the necessary protocols.”

Rachiel Ramsamooj, an administrator for a SEA Parent Support Facebook group which has over 10,000 members, told Guardian Media parents became concerned since last week when the first COVID case hit Maraval RC in their first week back out for SEA preparation.


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