The Ministry of Education announced that only students in forms four to six will be returning to physical classes when the new school term starts on 12 April. Of those students, the ministry further specifies that they can only report for school for practical subject components like School-Based Assessments (SBAs).
All other students will continue online classes or package systems.
The complete media release appears below:
The Ministry of Education takes this opportunity to advise the public on the re-opening of schools for Term III of Academic Year 2020/2021 on April 12th, 2021. Schools will operate utilizing the hybrid format which obtained in Term II of Academic Year 2020/2021; i.e. students of forms 4-6 will access physical classes for practical subject components ONLY and all other Secondary, Primary and ECCE students will continue with the online or package systems.
All educational material provided by the Ministry of Education via television, radio, print media and online will continue to be available for student and parent access. Further details of school operations are re-iterated below:
Secondary Schools will physically re-open on April 12th, 2021, for Forms 4-6 students ONLY utilizing a hybrid system.
The hybrid system entails:
- Online classes/packages for teaching to continue as far as possible
- Students to report to school for the completion of Practicals, SBAs and Internal Assessments
- Face to face classes to be held only where absolutely necessary
All other secondary school students are not to report physically for school
Primary and ECCE Schools
At the primary and ECCE levels, students will not return to their physical classrooms at the start of Term III on April 12th, 2021. All classes should be held virtually and students who require packages shall utilize their usual method of collection with all safety protocols observed.
General Operations for ALL Schools
- Entry protocols to be enforced must include:
- The wearing of school uniform
- Masks must be worn at all times except for the purpose of eating and drinking
- Temperature checks
- Collection of contact tracing data in the case of visitors to the compound (Visitors to the school compound must be kept to a minimum)
- Schools must have a designated quarantine area
Students who display flu-like symptoms should be assigned to the quarantine area to await pick-up. Teachers, health and safety officers, security officers or staff may identify these students to the principal.
- Schools must follow specific safety protocols in the following circumstances (as explained in the MOE’s Guidelines document)
- Staff or student displays flu-like symptoms
- Staff or student tests positive for COVID-19
- Staff or student is identified as a primary contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Medical clearance is required for staff or student to re-enter the school population after being suspected/confirmed to have contracted COVID-19
- Medical clearance is required for staff or students to enter the school population if another medical condition (e.g. allergies) is causing the display of flu-like symptoms (which would result in being barred from entry to the school compound)
- Six feet distancing must be enforced in teaching spaces
- No whole-school assemblies to be held
- Breaks, including lunch times, should be staggered
- Students should be allowed to eat at their desks in classrooms to avoid congregation where necessary
- Sharing of materials such as books, stationery, snacks or sanitizers among or between students should not be permitted.
- Schools are authorized to operate during normal school hours
- Parents are obligated to inform the school if students begin displaying flu-like symptoms at home or if students have been identified as primary contacts
- Schools will be provided with complete Guidelines for Physical Reopening and these should be carefully adhered to.
- Schools should make a practice of repeating safety guidelines multiple times during the school day as a reminder to staff and students of the protocols to be kept. These can also be used as sanitization breaks for the students to use their personal hand sanitizers.
- Schools should ensure that parents are apprised of the safety protocols and procedures in operation and enlist their support in reinforcing same with their children.
The Education District Health Unit will continue to operate as follows:
- Each school district in Trinidad has been assigned district nurses with direct responsibility for being the liaison between schools and the relevant units of the Ministry of Health (MOH) to facilitate and expedite communication between principals, supervisors and the MOH. The Tobago House of Assembly has made appropriate arrangements to facilitate the re-opening of schools in Tobago.
- The Education District Health Unit will facilitate medical clearance for the entry/ re-entry of students to schools where necessary.
- This Unit will also have responsibility, in collaboration with the Health and Safety Unit of the MOE, for ensuring that arrangements are in place at schools for COVID -19 protocols to be enforced.
The complete Guidelines for Physical Reopening of Schools are available at www.moe.gov.tt.