Physical Re-Opening of Schools Academic Year 2020/2021
Trinidad and Tobago has entered into the second term of academic year 2020/2021and examination dates for the SEA and CXC examinations, CSEC and CAPE, have been finalized. In order to ensure that students of forms 4-6, who have School Based Assessments to complete for CXC exams, and students of Standard 5, who are preparing for SEA, have the best chance of success in these examinations, a phased approach to physical reopening for these students ONLY has been approved. The Ministry takes this opportunity to outline how this process will be facilitated.
Secondary Schools will re-open on February 8th, 2021, for Forms 4-6 students ONLY utilizing a hybrid system.
The hybrid system entails:
- Online classes for teaching to continue as far as possible
- Students to report to school for the completion of Practicals, SBAs and Internal Assessments
- Physical teaching classes to be held only where absolutely necessary
At the primary level, Standard 5 students ONLY will return to their physical classrooms at the start of Term III on April 12th, 2021. Substitute teachers will be assigned to primary schools where required, to assist in supervisory functions and monitoring of students to ensure compliance with protocols.
General Operations for ALL Schools
1. Entry protocols to be enforced must include:
- The wearing of school uniform
- Masks must be worn at all times except for the purpose of eating and drinking
- Temperature checks
- Collection of contact tracing data in the case of visitors to the compound (Visitors to the school compound must be kept to a minimum)
2. Schools must have a designated quarantine area
Students who display flu-like symptoms should be assigned to the quarantine area to await pick-up. Teachers, health and safety officers, security officers or staff may identify these students to the principal.
3. Schools must follow specific safety protocols in the following circumstances (as explained in the MOE’s Guidelines document)
- Staff or student displays flu-like symptoms
- Staff or student tests positive for COVID-19
- Staff or student is identified as a primary contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
- Medial clearance is required for staff or student to re-enter the school population after being suspected/confirmed to have contracted COVID-19
- Medical clearance is required for staff or students to enter the school population if another medical condition (e.g. allergies) is causing the display of flu-like symptoms (which would result in being barred from entry to the school compound)
4. Six feet distancing must be enforced in teaching spaces
5. No whole-school assemblies to be held
6. Breaks, including lunch times, should be staggered
7. Students should be allowed to eat at their desks in classrooms to avoid congregation where necessary
8. Sharing of materials such as books, stationery, snacks or sanitizers among or between students should not be permitted.
9. Schools are authorized to operate during normal school hours
10. Parents are obligated to inform the school if students begin displaying flu-like symptoms at home or if students have been identified as primary contacts
11. Schools will be provided with complete Guidelines for Physical Reopening and these should be carefully adhered to.
12. Schools should make a practice of repeating safety guidelines multiple times during the school day as a reminder to staff and students of the protocols to be kept. These can also be used as sanitization breaks for the students to use their personal hand sanitizers.
13. Schools should ensure that parents are apprised of the safety protocols and procedures in operation and enlist their support in reinforcing same with their children.
The Ministry has established an Education District Health Unit that will comprise a team of one doctor and fourteen nurses. The Education District Health Unit will operate as follows:
- Each school district in Trinidad to be assigned 2 district nurses with direct responsibility for being the liaison between schools and the relevant units of the MOH to facilitate and expedite communication between principals, supervisors and the MOH. Tobago will also make their arrangements.
- The Education District Health Unit will facilitate medical clearance for the entry/ re-entry of students to schools where necessary.
- This Unit will also have responsibility, in collaboration with the Health and Safety Unit of the MOE, for ensuring that arrangements are in place at schools for COVID -19 protocols to be enforced.
The complete Guidelines for Physical Reopening of Schools is available on the Ministry’s website at www.moe.gov.tt.