Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has announced that classes for Standard Five students preparing for the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) on August 20, will cease as of tomorrow.

The measure was announced at a news conference Wednesday morning in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“We would not continue with that experiment of bringing the SEA children out. The decision I have taken is to discontinue at this stage. From tomorrow those children will not go back out to have classes at school,” he said.

He asked for parents to pay attention to children and make any contribution to they can to assist their preparations for the exam.

He said at this time they will stay with the exam on August 20 unless there is a major “explosion” of the virus.

The Prime Minister said that the Government will not make a decision to change the date for the reopening of schools but will review after monitoring the situation over the next two weeks.

Schools are set to reopening on September 1.

He said he was disappointed with the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association for telling teachers not to turn out to work, prior to the decision by the government.

He asked that all follow the protocols implemented by the Health authorities.

The Prime Minister said while the number of people out at work in the public sector has been reduced, he is hoping the private sector will also follow so. He noted though, that the private sector has been very responsible in this regard.

He said bars and restaurants remain the biggest challenge at present and has called on the police to “enforce the laws to the limit”. He said the closedown of the economy for COVID-19 cost the country billions and added that if it were to happen again, it would have drastic impacts on the economy.

He also asked that there be no gatherings on the night of Monday’s General Election to celebrate victories.

The PM insisted, “There is no raging virus in the country,” despite a recent uptick in the number of cases which now stands at 197.