Students of San Fernando Central Secondary School washing their hands at the entrance of the school on Monday. (Image by Rishi Ragoonath)

Mixed feelings of concern and happiness by parents as vaccinated and unvaccinated children in Forms Four to Six return to school today. At Asja Girls in San Fernando, a mother hugs her daughter tightly and looks on as she enters the school compound. The mother who did not want to give her name was not pleased with the situation. “It have vaccinated and unvaccinated children going to school together which is ridiculous. I know three children already who has been vaccinated and they have gotten the COVID so I am worried for my child.” The mother says she will be holding the Ministry of Education responsible if her daughter contracts the virus. “I am desperately worried for my child and if anything happens to my child I am going to sue the ministry because this is ridiculous and it is careless.

“Another parent Indra Wattee Mahabir whose daughter attends Debe Secondary School expressed similar concerns. “I am very concerned. My child is fully vaccinated but at the same time, I have known who have passed with COVID. They have taken all the precautions everything that you are supposed to do was done and they are not here today so yes I am concerned.”

However, Jairam Seeram was happy after dropping off his child at Parvati Girls Hindu College in Debe. “We have to try. We know the situation not only in our own country but in the world.” But, he says they have to find a way to go about their normal lives.  “While all this is happening we have to continue life. We have to try to fit in life within everything else so I am pleased school is opening back to accommodate all the children.

“Another parent Loreen Rajkumar whose child also attends the college said she felt overwhelmed but she was happy physical classes have resumed. Over the Public Address System at college, a school official at the college cautioned students that vaccinated and unvaccinated children are on the compound and there must be no clustering or congregating. 

At a press conference last week, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said all secondary school students in forms four-six will be required to return to physical classes and those teachers would no longer be required to teach online classes.  In-person classes had initially resumed for only vaccinated students in Forms four and five on October 4.