THA secretary ‘on the ground’ ahead of schools’ reopening

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Education Secretary Zorisha Hackett –

Preparations are under way for the reopening of physical classes for all students on Wednesday, says THA Secretary of Education, Research and Technology Zorisha Hackett.

After two years of online learning owing to covid19 restrictions, students at every level will return to physical classrooms in the third term of the school year, beginning on Wednesday for Tobago students and on Tuesday for students in Trinidad.

Speaking with Newsday on Monday, Hackett said: “I’m on the ground today checking around. Deliveries are still happening.”

At last Thursday’s virtual post Executive Council media briefing, Hackett disclosed some of the plans for the new school term.

She said that a new Education Health Unit at the division has been installed with house officer Dr Dane Joseph charged to deal with the schools’ covid19 emergency response procedures. She said all schools will receive a copy of the procedures to be followed should a child contract the virus and show signs and symptoms while at school.

She also said that the division will work overtime to ensure that ordered furniture is delivered in time for the reopening of schools. The installation of sanitising stations is almost complete at the Early Childhood Care and Education Centres (ECCE). Although mask wearing will not be mandatory for ECCE students, she said disposal masks will still be available to these students.

Additionally, the division has mandated that schools relax school uniform requirements. According to the guidelines, where possible, each child must wear the school uniform.

“In cases where a child is not able to wear the correct school uniform, the physical education uniform can be worn. In the cases where physical education uniforms cannot be worn, principals reserve the right to determine what is acceptable on a case-by-case basis.”

The division, through the schools’ principals, will be distributing stationery vouchers to assist students in need. The needs-assessment procedure to determine eligibility, she said will begin on Wednesday, adding that the Student Support Services at the division is another avenue that can be utilised to provide assistance to students who are in need. Interested applicants can call 299-0781 ext 3109 to be interviewed for this assistance.

The schools’ food and nutrition programme will resume in the second week of the new term.