Haynes: Concern over safety as students return to in-person classes

Anita Haynes -
Anita Haynes -

MP for Tabaquite Anita Haynes has said there is still a real concern for parents over the safety of learning spaces as students return to physical classes.

In a statement on Thursday, Haynes said while the ministry has finally amended its approach of returning only vaccinated students to the physical classroom, spacing remains an issue.

It said the ministry failed to implement its plans over the past school terms and the public is now sceptical about the return on Monday.

Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said, in a press conference on Wednesday, that all upper school students in forms 4-6 will be required to return to physical classes from October 25.

Teachers will no longer have to teach online classes, as all students must return to school. Vaccinated students in forms 4-6 returned to the physical classroom on October 4 at the beginning of term.

Despite the millions of dollars spent on learning devices and MiFi units, the digital divide remains, and many students experienced an extreme decline in their access to education.

“A return to physical classes provides students with a chance to catch up and so I hope that the ministry ensures each school is properly equipped to execute regular sanitisation and practise social distancing.”

Haynes called for a clean and inclusive data-based policy. She said, “It is rather ironic that while we teach our students the importance of using information and data to inform decision-making, the very institution responsible for their education appears incapable of devising a data driven strategy to guide their policies.”

She said during the pandemic, there has been a lack of empathetic leadership as Gadsby-Dolly would “high-handedly” announce decisions and leave parents, teachers and students "scrambling to figure things out with short notice.”

She called on the ministry to evaluate the varied needs of schools across Trinidad and Tobago  to ensure their needs are met.

“I am hopeful that the trend of mismanagement and irresponsibility by the Ministry of Education will come to an end sooner rather than later. In the absence of proper data, we are left with policies of experimentation.

“This must not be the case for our nation's children, we need the Ministry of Education to really step up and do better.”


"Haynes: Concern over safety as students return to in-person classes"

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