Reopening of schools, a Logistical Nightmare

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(Trinidad Express) – A logistical nightmare. This is how the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) is describing the Government’s plan to physically reopen schools for only fully vaccinated fourth, fifth and sixth form pupils from October 1. TTUTA second vice-president Kyrla Robertson said the association is looking forward to discussions with the Ministry of Education as it irons out how the arrangement will work. “It is going to be a logistical nightmare because our T3 (Teacher III) teachers in the secondary schools teach from forms one to form six. So time-tabling them to be face-to-face to deal with forms four to six and still having to carry the load of teaching forms one to three is going to be problematic,” she explained in a phone interview with the Express yesterday. “Also, if you are going to have only those who are vaccinated out from those levels, catering to the needs of the others who will be left at home will be problematic because most of our schools do not have enough Wi-Fi capabilities for a teacher to be able to stand in front of the face-to-face students and stream for those who are at home on devices. So this would really take some fleshing out to see what is the most practical way that it could roll out, if at all. We are hoping to be called to the table urgently in the coming weeks to start thrashing out how this could possibly be done with ease for not only the teachers but for the students,” she added.

At a press conference on Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley raised concerns about low vaccination numbers among the school-aged population.

Robertson said while there was no discussion between TTUTA and the Ministry of Education regarding only allowing some fully vaccinated pupils out to school, TTUTA suspected that something along that line would have been eventually developed. She explained that to realistically adhere to public health regulations and have face-to-face classes would mean only allowing eight to ten pupils per class. “So a class would have been broken up into three or four and that was in itself presenting a challenge. But specifically talking about bringing out vaccinated as opposed to unvaccinated, that conversation did not happen,” Robertson said.

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