Minister of Education Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly along with officials from the Ministry of Education met with the President and executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) on Tuesday, October 13th to discuss the physical reopening of schools for vaccinated students of Forms 1-3. The following is a press release from The Ministry of Education
Ministers of Education Dr. Nyan Gadsby-Dolly and Lisa Morris- Julian, along with officials of the Ministry of Education met with the President and Executive of The Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) on Tuesday, October 13th, 2021, to discuss the physical reopening of schools for vaccinated students of Forms 1-3
The Ministry of Education advanced that feedback has been received of the difficulty some schools are experiencing in delivering online to Forms 1-3 and physically to Forms 4-6 students- despite the presence of connectivity infrastructure at the school, or the provision of MiFi devices and laptops to teachers.
For this reason, and after analysis of the physical attendance data for Forms 4-6 students, the Government has proposed the reopening of physical school for all vaccinated secondary students of ages 12-18. This would be advantageous to both teachers and students, many of whom have been outside of the classroom for the past nineteen months.
At this time, based on the guidance from the Ministry of Health, the safest cohort of students for physical attendance at schools are the vaccinated- hence the approach taken by the Government on physical attendance.
The issues raised by TTUTA included concerns about social distancing, physical infrastructure and the teaching of unvaccinated students. The discussion also focused heavily on teacher burnout, as TTUTA cited incidences of teachers attempting to simultaneously teach online and physically, in contravention of their guidance.
TTUTA has advanced that the return of teachers to the physical classroom should be accompanied by a cessation of virtual or remote teaching, in order to preserve the work-life balance of teachers.
Additionally, TTUTA informed of the need for discussions with the Chief Personnel Officer regarding the terms and conditions of teachers expected to provide remote or online teaching for students who are not attending school physically at this time.
The Ministry of Education notes these positions, as further discussion is engaged with the wider stakeholder body on Thursday, 14th October, 2021.