IT WAS a slow day on Tuesday at several secondary schools on the second day of the resumption of physical classes for vaccinated forms 4-6 students.
Some students, speaking anonymously outside their schools when classes ended for the day, said only a handful showed up for classes. “School was dead,” said a form five student of a school in Port of Spain.
“There were only two students in my class today.” She said there are usually 30 students in the class. “I didn’t really have any classes today. Only one at the end of the day.”
Her father, who came to pick her up, said while it is early days still, it seems the push to get students back out was not really going anywhere. “There are only one or two students in the class. That laptop thing is throwing them off very bad.”
He said some students, because they were not afforded devices during the pandemic, appeared to have fallen off the radar.
“I listened in while my daughter is working. You don’t hear certain students answer, ‘Present,’ during roll call. Some students just seem to have dropped out,” he said.
Another form four student said only six out of 24 students in his class turned up. He said classes were ok. “It was all right. I can’t say it was good or bad, it was ok.” He said he felt comfortable being on the compound as all health protocols were followed.
“Students at home are sent work to do within the period that we had classes.”
He said he heard teachers planning among themselves to teach one class in person while having the lesson recorded online via Zoom so that other students from that class, who are in other classrooms because of physical distancing rules, can listen in online. He said he was not sure if this system would work.
At St Francois Girls’ College, Belmont, a school official said teachers had internet connectivity issues on Tuesday but still tried to teach classes to those students who showed up. The official said that there was a low turnout with four students showing up in a form.
Chairman of the Association of the Denominational Boards of Education Sharon Mangroo said the response to Monday’s return to schools was mixed.
“We thought we would have had some parents attempting to send unvaccinated children, but it did not happen,” Mangroo said.
She said in some schools, student turnout was good, such as at Presentation College, Chaguanas, where 72 of the 84 students were present. At other schools, however, attendance was very low.
At St Francis College, 36 out of 150-plus students showed up for classes, while at St Joseph’s College, only 13 out of 70-plus students showed up. At Matelot Community College, not one student showed up for classes on Monday.