NPTA, TTUTA: Covid19 guidelines not being followed by all

Kevin David -
Kevin David -

THE National Parent Teachers Associaiton (NPTA) and the TT Unified Teachers Association expressed concern on Thursday about how effectively covid19 protocols are being adhered to, especially when it comes to younger children..

All schools were fully re-opened when the new school term began on April 19.

NPTA president Kevin David said, "I believe the covid19 rules are being followed up to a point." He observed that mandatory mask-wearing, sanitisation, social and physical distancing protocols were kept in place since schools reopened.

But David is concerned about how effective those protocols are, especially when it comes to monitoring the activities of young children in the school system. He indicated that NPTA members and parents have expressed similar concerns.

"We are still having reports from our membership of children with flu-like symptoms still reporting to school. We would have heard from other stakeholders of the same."

David said, "In addition, there is some difficulty ensuring all our students, especially primary school students, maintain the wearing of their masks especially if ventilation issues persist."

On Wednesday, in an immediate response to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh's statement that there were over 200 covid19 cases recorded among students and teaching staff in one week, David said the NPTA was ready to support a hybrid learning system which could reduce the infection rate in the school system.

Two parents, speaking on condition of anonymity, said their children were fully vaccinated and followed the covid19 guidelines at school. They added they would monitor the situation in the coming days, discuss it with their children and make an appropriate decision.

TTUTA vice-president Marlon Seales shared David's views.

"Our members share that most of the information reaching schools re covid19 cases, comes from parents and guardians who test privately." With 555 new covid19 cases being reported on Wednesday, Seales said the Education Ministry must be proactive on curbing covid19 in schools.

On Wednesday, Seales expressed concern about reports of students being unwilling to follow covid19 guidelines. He called for the ministry to hold meaningful talks with TTUTA on matters such as online teaching and learning modalities as well as the current health and safety protocols.

"We must come out of emergency mode and build an equitable and just system; a system which works in the best interest of all the members of the education community."

One doctor, speaking anonymously, said some children might follow covid19 rules better at school than others and that might cause difficulties. The doctor said it was difficult to determine the chances of students contracting covid19 or suffering long-term health complications, in the current scenario.

While Deyalsingh has spoken about Pfizer vaccines for children 5-11 coming from Spain, there has been no formal announcement as to when those vaccines will arrive in TT.

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"NPTA, TTUTA: Covid19 guidelines not being followed by all"

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