Rhianna Mc Kenzie
Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said guidelines for the physical reopening of schools should be available by next week in anticipation of a February 8 reopening.
The Health and Education ministries met on Thursday to discuss the reopening.
In a brief response to Newsday via WhatsApp, Gadsby-Dolly said discussions focused on ensuring that all protocols were clear.
“Based on the present numbers, there is no indication that the plan to reopen on February 8 cannot proceed, new variant notwithstanding.”
The Ministry of Health recorded TT’s first confirmed case of the UK covid19 variant, called variant B117.
It said the variant was found in a national returning from the United Kingdom.
Gadsby-Dolly said both ministries will be hammering out a few more details, particularly as it relates to the operations of primary schools.
“For secondary schools, at our meetings with stakeholders, it was suggested that the emphasis on physical classes be for labs and school-based assessments, while students could continue most of the conceptual work online. Of course, this would vary by school.”
She said this would mean the presence of students on the compound at secondary schools would be easily staggered.
“For primary schools, however, the situation is different, and so the Ministry of Education will work with the Ministry of Health to ensure that the protocols are very clearly outlined and understood as we work to avoid premature school closure.”
In a release on Thursday, the Ministry of Health said it was decided that a smaller working group of senior technical officers from both ministries would continue to collaborate on the details of the plan.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, acting chief education officer Lisa Henry-David and technical director Epidemiology Division Dr Avery Hinds.