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Sacred Heart Girls’ RC principal Vanessa Yearwood shows the social distancing of a classroom for children writing the SEA exams today. She said the school is one hundred per cent ready for today’s exam.

Anna-Lisa Paul

“Don’t stress. Do your best. Forget the rest.”

This was the last-minute advice issued by National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA) PRO Shamila Raheem yesterday to the 19,363 students who are registered to write today’s Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) exam.

One Tobago student, however, will miss today’s sitting after testing positive for COVID-19.

Raheem commended the students for displaying courage, bravery and strength for persevering during this difficult period, noting their education was interrupted on March 16 after schools were closed when T&T recorded its first COVID-19 case.

Raheem appealed to the students to continue adhering to the public health regulations – especially during the break period – and to wear their masks, sanitise and social distance from each other.

Wishing them love and God’s blessings, Raheem also urged parents to take their children straight to school for the exam today and straight home after. She said this was one way to ensure minimal interaction among persons and an effective way to stem the spread of the virus.

Echoing Raheem’s advice to parents to keep the interactions brief was Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) president Antonia Tekah-De Freitas, who said they were satisfied with the public health measures that had been put in place for today.

She said following visits to several schools yesterday, they observed hand-washing stations had been installed; sanitisers had been placed at all locations and desks had been placed six feet apart.

Tekah-De Freitas extending good luck to the students, as she said they had worked hard through the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scheduled to begin at 8.30 am, the exam is expected to last just over four hours and will conclude around 1 pm.

For students who may be unable to write the exam for whatever reason today, the TTUTA head assured that a supplemental exam would be administered at a later date.

Following the announcement of roll-back measures last weekend to continue to safeguard citizens as T&T battles its second wave of the pandemic, the Ministry of Education reminded parents that there can be no congregating in or around school compounds.

Parents and guardians were advised to drop students off no later than 7.45 am to facilitate screening and reception of students ahead of the examination. The ministry also advised that students must be collected promptly after the exam.

However, parents of children with concessions were advised to return at 1.30 pm.

Noting that all students will be screened upon arrival at schools, the ministry said any student presenting with flu-like symptoms will be refused entry to sit the exam. As such, the ministry advised parents to ensure their children are admitted to the school compound before leaving the premises.

“We take this opportunity to urge parents again to keep children with flu-like symptoms at home. A make-up test would be available to students who are absent,” the ministry said in a release.