TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas is appealing to candidates for the upcoming general election to tone down their campaigning in the vicinity of schools as there are students preparing for and sitting important examinations currently.
She said there are secondary school students sitting CAPE and CSEC examinations, while SEA students will return to school on Monday. She said teachers have already reported disruptions from loudspeakers as candidates carry out their walkabouts.
“What TTUTA will ask is that when the candidates and campaigners are nearing a school, be it primary or secondary, that they tone down, they lower the volume of their loudspeakers and so forth, to ensure minimum disruption for the students who are in examination mode.
"There was a case where someone recounted that the chief invigilator went out and asked for the participants in a walkabout to turn down the loudspeakers and they turned down the loudspeakers on the vehicles but the tassa drumming continued and that in itself was problematic. They need to be mindful of and sensitive to the fact that when they are in areas close to schools there are students in school who are in exam mode.”
De Freitas said TTUTA wrote to the EBC and the Health Ministry to express concern about disruptions which will take place to prepare facilities for election day while examinations are going on.
“In addition, students will be out of school on the day of elections itself. The EBC has agreed to meet with TTUTA and to discuss those concerns because definitely we would want to ensure that the EBC personnel restore the schools to the manner in which they met them when they went to prepare.
"Of course the sanitisation of the schools after election day is something the EBC and health ministry must engage in to make sure the students and educators who return on August 11 are safe.”
The TTUTA president said the union made the decision not to discourage teachers and administrators who return to school on Monday to assist SEA students.
“At the end of the day we are still cognisant of the fact that we must pay attention to the interests of the students under our care. Our concerns will always be the readiness of the facility in terms of the continued sanitisation. We understand the education ministry provided materials for sanitisation and they have pledged to continue sanitising the schools so we look forward to that, as well as of course the necessary supervision for students with this physical distancing that must ensue.
"We would want to ensure that parents adhere to guidelines provided for pickup and drop-off by the schools daily, as we wouldn’t want the teachers and students to be on the compound for any longer than necessary.”
Students are sitting the SEA examinations on August 20 while the general election is on August 10.