School reopening plans to be revealed next week

Vijay Maharaj.  -
Vijay Maharaj. -

General secretary of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Vijay Maharaj has said the Minister of Education told stakeholders in a meeting last Friday the ministry should soon reveal its plan for lower forms in the second term.

In a brief phone interview with Newsday on Thursday, Maharaj said during the meeting, Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly asked stakeholders to wait a week for the ministry to reveal its plans.

Students in forms 4-6, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, were allowed to return to the physical classroom in September.

“We have to wait and see what the minister says,” said Maharaj, adding he was unsure if reopening schools to forms 1-3 would be wise. “We don’t know what is going to happen with the rise in these (covid19) numbers. I am very wary it will rise even further for the festive season.

“But what is quite apparent is that schools are safe zones. There haven’t been many cases. Maybe that has to be taken into consideration.”

While Maharaj said he is reserving his comments until the minister reveals her plans, his main concern is with primary school and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Centre students.

“My concern lies for first- and second-year students. They have never seen a school, they don’t know how to socialise, and I am very concerned about them. But the fact is they can’t social-distance.”

Principal of Fatima College in Port of Spain Fr Gregory Augustine told Newsday in a phone interview on Thursday he is not sure whether a return of lower school students is possible.

“We were out in full for 4-6 forms,” he said. “We did no rotation, everyone was here.

"What is the plan for juniors? As much as we want (them) to come back, there are those concerns. But it doesn’t change the fact that the children are fed up. The longer this goes on, the more challenging for them to keep motivated and focused.”

He said for him the issue was simple.

"Everyone has to be vaxxed. There’s no other way around it. If we look abroad, they were able to do away with physical distancing because everyone is vaccinated.

“I don’t envy my colleagues who have low vaccination compliance. I am very fortunate.

"Until a mandate is given for everyone to be vaccinated, you’re going to have challenges (causing) this to go on for another year or two.”


"School reopening plans to be revealed next week"

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