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TTUTA, Education Ministry work together on school reopening – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas
TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas

TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) president Antonia De Freitas said on Thursday she is pleased with the Ministry of Education’s commitment to working with the association to ensure the physical reopening of schools remains a success.

In a brief phone interview with Newsday on Thursday, De Freitas said the ministry will resume conversations with TTUTA on issues at schools. She expressed her gratitude for this approach, as opposed to having to send an e-mail in the hopes of a response.

“That kind of collaboration will allow both entities to see what challenges there are, discuss solutions, and restore facilities,” she said.

She said there are still schools with some infrastructural issues including lighting and electricity making it difficult for some students to do their labs there.

She said TTUTA met with Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly recently and addressed these issues and was told the ministry would investigate it.

She also said teachers have been doing their best under the circumstances, adding that they are also struggling to balance timetables for their Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) students in the face-to-face classes and their lower school students, who are continuing their virtual classes from home.

“Some things are beyond the capacity of the principals. We are challenged by that.”

De Freitas said there are also a few schools where construction began before covid19 led to the closure of schools a year ago. She said construction is ongoing and students are unable to use the space properly.

De Freitas urged students, teachers, and administrative staff to continue to follow the covid19 protocols.

“All we’re asking at this time is that everyone on school compounds adhere to health regulations.”

She said there have been instances where students neglected personal responsibility in physical distancing and wearing their masks.

“That is a challenge as far as supervision goes.”

She said principals and administrative staff should continue to minimise the number of people in schools by continuing virtual classes wherever possible.

“Only have (students) on the compound as necessary.”

She said safety and health should be prioritised.

“We should not sacrifice students for the sake of exams and results.

In a message to Newsday, Gadsby-Dolly said there were no major issues to report and no adjustments to covid19 protocols are planned for now.

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