A St.Joseph Convent, Port-of-Spain student’s mother adjust her school bag as she enters the school on the re opening of schools for senior students yesterday.

Students and parents also have a responsibility to ensure the return to school amidst a pandemic is a safe one.This is according to Ministry of Health officials during a virtual press conference on Monday. “The onus of responsibility lies partially with you yourself in maintaining your own hygiene precautions, in ensuring that while you’re at school you keep your mask on, in ensuring that when the breaks come there isn’t this generalised mingling, that we keep the mask on when eating,” the technical director of the Ministry of Health’s epidemiology unit Dr Avery Hinds said. He said those who may have come in contact with an ill person who may be a known active case of COVID-19 also need to understand their responsibility to stay home.”We would expect that the children from those schools would not present themselves to school because they would be in quarantine while the individuals are in isolation,” he said.”Anyone with any sort of viral symptom at this point in time- whether it’s fever, stuffy nose, loss of sense of smell, any of those symptoms would be an indication not to present yourself to school.”Dr Hinds noted that cases are relatively low with some 80 per cent occurring within clusters. Despite these low number of new cases, Principal Medical Officer Institutions Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards also extended the words of caution to the entire public. “I would like to appeal to members of the public to continue to be vigilant and to exercise personal responsibility to keep you, your families and the population safe,” she said.Dr Hinds reiterated that adherence to the protocols and guidelines was especially important because of asymptomatic spreaders. “It is because of this, because of this ongoing perennial risk of quietly asymptomatic people moving around and infecting people without even knowing that they themselves are infected that we continue to call for the maintenance and adherence of all the public health regulations,” he said.