While their parents were apprehensive as schools reopened on Monday, standard five students at a primary school in San Fernando seemed ready to return to their classrooms under new covid19 guidelines.
On Monday, the school system partially re-opened to accommodate students who were preparing to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) on August 20.
They were all geared up with masks and hand sanitiser to embrace the “new normal.” About 19,000 are expected to write SEA on August 20, the new date for the exam after it had to be postponed because of the closure of schools due to the covid19 pandemic. The SEA was originally scheduled to take place on April 2.
At the end of the school day students at Grant Memorial Presbyterian School in San Fernando told Newsday they were relieved that the day was over.
There were visible markings in the courtyard that gave children directions to maintain ample spacing between bodies, hand washing stations and other types of sanitisers, readily available for use.
Alex Marjadsingh said he was happy to be back at school after such a long break and was able to function effectively with the new guidelines.
He said, “It was fun to be back at school. I missed my friends and teachers. We observed the rules, we stayed our six feet apart and we did not touch our face with our dirty hands.
“I brought my own hand sanitiser just in case it ran out. I think I can adapt to this new practice.”
Another student Luke Bernard said, while it was different from what he was accustomed to, he was able to get through the day.
He said, “It was quite different. We had to social distance and wash our hands regularly. We did not get to go outside much so there was not much physical interaction.
“Coming back to school after such a long time away felt new. This is not normal to me and I am trying hard to get adjusted.
Melissa Bobb, Bernard’s mother said she was scared to have her children come back out to school because the covid19 virus is still developing and the health regulations can change at any time.
She said, “I was worried because I was not sure if they (the school) had all the preparations in place at first.
“The school assured there would be proper social distancing measures in place, the children’s temperature will be checked in the morning and then they would have specific places to put their belongings.”
Bobb said, though the regulations were in place, she was still worried about how they would be transferred into a system that had a full complement of children returning to school on a regular basis.
Other parents expressed worry but noted that they were fully aware that this was the “new normal” that must be adapted to.
Emrittee Beepath, whose child is also preparing for SEA said while she was scared, she was reassured by health and safety guidelines provided by the school.
She said, “The children have to come back to school, so it is what it is. It is the ‘new norm.’ And although it is worrisome and difficult, we have to adapt to the societal change.
“It is only so much a child can remember and it is only so much we can safeguard them. We need to make sure they are aware of the consequences if they do not follow the rules. Education and understanding covid19 are key to preventing the spread.”
The children told Newsday that they were prepared to write SEA and they all looked forward to passing for their first choice schools.