Most vaxxed students, teachers turn up for school


A student of Mucurapo Secondary School walks into the compound on the first day of school. School reopened on Monday for vaccinated students who are in forms four, five and six. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

Principals and teachers in Trinidad have reported a mostly positive response to the physical reopening of schools on Monday.

Vaccinated students of forms four-six were allowed to return to the physical classroom on Monday. The Ministry of Education had also mandated that teachers return to schools as well.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association Antonia Tekah-De Freitas told Newsday on Monday she had received some feedback in the morning that teachers had turned out.

“Everybody was supposed to report for duty, and they have done so.”

On Thursday, thousands of teachers across the country participated in a “virtual blackout,” to protest the return to the physical classroom. The protest is believed to have been led by TTUTA.

Tekah-De Freitas said in some instance, there were as few as two-ten students in a class.

She also pointed out: “Principals, in some instances, are saying that teachers must teach virtually and use virtual modality to teach those in the physical space and those at home at the same time. TTUTA has made it abundantly clear that is not to happen.

“That is introducing new terms and conditions into their conditions of work. It is not what teachers are supposed to be doing at this time.”

Principal of Fatima College Fr Gregory Augustine reported an average of 90 per cent of students and staff have returned to class.

“Our compliance is high,” he said, adding there are some students still waiting to receive their second dose of the vaccine before they can return to school.

He described the response of students as ecstatic.

“We gave them a little extra time this morning to settle,” he joked. “It’s been a year since they’ve seen each other.”

He said parents did not express any anxiety about sending their children off to school.

“We’re moving with faith. The students are very happy.”

He said other than a two-minute breakdown of the internet and other minor “teething” issues, such as misplaced chairs, there were no incidents to report.

A principal of a school for special students, who requested anonymity, said although many of her students did not come out for the first day, she is expecting more as the days go by.

“The day started off very slowly,” she said. “Even in those who are vaccinated, some of them didn’t come out.”

She said of the approximately 17 students who should have returned, only about seven came.

In July, she said, when students were first allowed to be in the physical classroom, many parents were dubious about sending their children to school.

“Parents are still very nervous. Most parents never sent their children (in July). Where parents are concerned, they will take chances with themselves, but where their children are concerned, they are very careful.”

She said the students at the school have mild to moderate disabilities, including dyslexia, attention deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) and autism.

“By this afternoon, when we contact parents, we will find out what the situations were. Some may feel they were not sufficiently prepared. From tomorrow we will have more students.”

Back To Top