The Ministry of Education's head office on St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain.

Officials from the Ministry of Health will meet with the Ministry of Education today to discuss the reopening schools. Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram during the Ministry of Health’s virtual press conference said: “We’re having a discussion with the ministry—that’s the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education—called by the Honourable Minister on Thursday morning to discuss what is going to happen with the school situation,” Dr Parasram said.

He did not give any further details to avoid preempting the discussion.Schools were closed one day after this country’s first case of COVID-19 was reported on March 13, 2020, by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and have remained closed since then except for virtual classes which began in September and a failed attempt to resume preparation classes for the Secondary Entrance Assessment in July.

Technical director of the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Division Dr Avery Hinds said COVID-19 cases for 2021 are on an upward trajectory.”The new cases per day are inching upwards. If you look at the number of new cases per week, you’d see that in the last three completed calendar or epidemiologic weeks we’d have had a steady increase from 58 cases in the last week of 2020 to 82 cases in the first week of 2021 and 126 in this last completed week,” he said.Dr Hinds said it is a concerning development and urged the public to avoid any gatherings or congregations.

The increase in cases comes as no surprise to Ministry of Health as officials who said they anticipated it following the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. The Chief Medical Officer said previously that they expect to witness the full impact of these celebrations on the virus’ spread by the end of January.  

It’s also why the current form of the Public Health Regulations was extended for a second time earlier this week.”The maintenance of the status quo is based on what has happened over the Christmas season and what we saw by way of public health measures not being adhered to. The numbers as Dr Hinds has said continues to rise so expectantly, we won’t be able to relax anything at this point at least,” he said.

Reporter: Rishard Khan