While most Port of Spain schools were abuzz with children reuniting with teachers and classmates, students and parents of Moulton Hall Methodist School were made to line up on the pavement of Abercromby Street. Parents said school officials did not allow them in until 7.30am.
One parent, who wished not to be identified, said, "This is ridiculous. If school is starting at eight, the children need to reach before. They need time to settle down and we, the parents need to be sure our kids are safe and settled.
"It's been two years since they have been in school. Some of them are here for the first time and they especially needed some extra time to get settled and feel comfortable.
"They said we can't come in because that's the covid19 protocols they have to follow."
Another parent who also asked not to be identified in fear of prejudice against their child said, "Procedures should have been put in place prior to today, as the school and its relevant governing body had enough time to construct a contingency plan on how to operate their so-called covid19 protocols. It was unnecessary to keep the children out of the compound because the school failed to prepare properly."
Calls to Moulton Hall Methodist School went unanswered up till press time.
Contacted for comment, president of the Primary School Principals' Association Carlene Hayes said she was unaware of the incident.
Some parents were doubtful about letting their children return to in-person classes, but most were elated to send them back to school.
The mother of a St Mary’s College student said, “We left home in time to get into Port of Spain before 6am just to avoid the traffic.
"I have no problems with the reopening of schools, I’m glad to send him back out.”
Many students and parents complained about heavy traffic on Tuesday morning. Some reported they had to endure over two hours of traffic on the East-West Corridor, which made many children late for their first day back out.
The father of a student at St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, said, “We woke up early and left our Chaguanas home at 6.30am, but that did not help, as we still got here after the school bell rang. I don’t know how productive she will be after having to sit in traffic for so long, I am tired, so she must be too.
“I’m glad that school is back in full swing, but the traffic this morning was too much!”