President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), Antonia Tekah-De Freitas.

President of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), Antonia De Freitas, is strongly advising parents to instil in their children the importance of observing all the COVID-19 health protocols—including social distancing—when schools are reopened on a phased basis in February.

De Freitas says ensuring there is no spread of the COVID-19 virus is a matter of personal responsibility, and students must do their part.

“Parents must reiterate these factors to students, because we would not want to embark upon this phased reopening and then we have to close school because we have cases mounting, or because we recognise that students—in the secondary level especially—are not doing what they are supposed to do,” the teachers union boss said.

TTUTA notes while teachers will return to school, only as required, they are still very concerned about returning to the physical space.

Antonia De Freitas also points out that while they welcome the proposed Education District Health Unit, there are some challenges.

“This will be staffed, in the first instance, by the doctors and the 14 nurses projected,” she observed.  

“We understand it is critical for all persons in the school environment to feel safe.  However, our concern will be the access, given the geography of some schools,” the TTUTA president underscored.

Schools are scheduled to reopen on a phased basis on Monday February 8th, with only Forms Four, Five and Six students attending when necessary.

Standard Five students will return to their physical classrooms on Monday April 12th.