This is how parents’ of students attending the Maria Regina Grade School in Port-of-Spain yesterday described how their lives had turned following the announcement that their children’s classmate’s parent had been confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus.
Indicating that they remained in limbo up to last night, the parents used the words “uncertainty,” “fear,” “disappointment” and “anger” to articulate exactly how they were feeling.
They claimed that up to 5 pm yesterday, no one from the Ministry of Health had contacted them.
However, around 6.30 pm yesterday, one parent reported receiving a call from a paediatrician who advised her to continue to do the responsible thing and self-isolate for the time being.
Commending the school for the proactive move, she reported feeling more comforted then, saying the stigma now associated with those whose children attend the school is one which will be hard to erase.
Business-owner and parent Colin Mitchell said his family felt rejected and targeted because of what had happened since Thursday. He said up to last night they remained unaware of the status of the student whose parent tested positive for the virus, as they had not heard from either the ministry or school.
The owner of Signwave, Mitchell revealed, “From the time we got that information around 6 pm yesterday (Thursday), we made the decision to self-quarantine the entire family, which includes three children.”
His children – aged five, nine, and 11, all attend different schools in the Port-of-Spain district.
He said, “We stayed home all day today (yesterday) and have not taken visitors or allowed anyone in or out of our house. The five of us are just at home, locked up…trying to figure out what’s the next step.”
Asked what the family’s next plan of action was, Mitchell said, “We have been calling as many people as we possibly can, trying to find out what is the status of the student and all we found out from secondary and tertiary sources is that he was tested and we were looking forward to a result today.”
However, Mitchell said that information appeared incorrect.
He went on, “We are very concerned and very insecure generally, right now. And we would like to get some guidance on what the protocol is because there might be families out there who are not doing what we’re doing.”
Saying his family had refrained from going to work, school and even the supermarket, Mitchell appealed, “We want some guidance. I am worried now because we are going into the weekend.”
He questioned if it was too early or unreasonable to expect more from the authorities, as it had only been 24 hours since the country’s first case was confirmed.
“I was expecting to hear more quickly. I was hoping that a press conference would be held every afternoon to keep the nation abreast of what’s going on,” Mitchell said.
The two applauded the move by school principal Elizabeth Crouch to immediately close the facility for sanitizing. However, they insist that questions must be answered as they cannot remain in limbo, indefinitely.