TTUTA on Iere High School covid cases: We’ve had safety concerns

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Antonia De Freitas –

The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is calling on the Ministry of Education to ensure that all schools are given adequate resources to implement stringent covid19 preventative measures.

The association’s demand comes as over 60 students and four teachers at Iere High School in Siparia were ordered on October 28 to home-quarantine after it was discovered the day before that two students tested positive for covid19.

When asked about the incident, TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas told Newsday via WhatsApp that the association had made its covid19 safety concerns known to the Ministry of Education on several occasions.

She said, “We have voiced our concerns on previous occasions – and in the most recent meeting last week – about the safety protocols that are in place (at schools).

“In some instances, some schools have not received the necessary funding to allow them to purchase the resources and equipment they need to ensure consistent sanitisation throughout the day.”

De Freitas claims that government schools in particular are facing this problem and at some of these schools, inconsistent classroom sanitisation has disrupted their student roster system affecting classes.

Since October 25, TTUTA members have been complying with the Education Ministry’s mandate and teaching all forms four-six students, whether vaccinated or not, in a physical classroom.

The new mandate was implemented after education stakeholders such as TTUTA criticised the ministry’s previous mandate which required vaccinated students to be taught physically and unvaccinated students to be taught online.

But while De Freitas said TTUTA called for the parallel learning system to be replaced by one modality of learning for all students, she said it did not dictate which one should be chosen.

She explained, “The issue of all students of forms four, five and six returning to school at this point in time, for face-to-face classes, is a decision made by the Ministry of Education.

“TTUTA called for the use of one modality for curriculum delivery but we did not dictate which modality. That is the modality that the Ministry of Education chose.”

Despite being home-quarantined, the affected teachers at Iere High School have continued online classes for the affected students.

Physical classes for the other students at the school resumed on Monday.