Vehicles leave the UTT Campus at Munroe Road, Chaguanas, yesterday, where teachers were vaccinated for COVID-19.

There has been no word on whether or not unvaccinated teachers will be among those selected to administer this year’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam on July 1.

In response to this question yesterday, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly reiterated, “Vaccination is not mandatory in T&T.”

Further, she assured preparations are continuing ahead of the exam which was postponed for three weeks from June 10, due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.

Gadsby-Dolly said over 3,500 people were involved at different levels of SEA administration, and that a call had gone out for teachers from the secondary school system to volunteer alongside their peers from the primary level as there was a shortfall in the requisite number of invigilators.

Up to last week, approximately 3,535 people involved in the administration of the exam had so far been vaccinated.

Gadsby-Dolly said all teachers confirmed to be working for SEA and CXC exams were given the opportunity to be vaccinated. However, the offer has been not taken up by all of them.

In addition to teachers, the invitation to be vaccinated was extended to principals; vice-principals; heads of departments; deans; clerical staff; health and safety officers; and other staff deemed to be essential in the operations of a school.

The Education Ministry submitted 4,125 names to health officials for vaccination even though 4,000 vaccines were allocated to them by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

While many of those at the primary level had opted not to volunteer this year due to fear of contracting the virus, the Minister is confident they will meet their targets without having to offer a stipend as they did in 2020 or to recruit external invigilators.”

So far, a total of 178 requests for SEA deferrals have been received and 160 have been granted by the ministry.