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Chaguanas North Secondary School

A teacher has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Chaguanas North Secondary School, bringing to eight the number of schools which have recorded positive cases since the resumption of classes on October 4.

A school source said the COVID-19 positive teacher had been in contact with over 30 pupils. Before her COVID result was recorded, she supervised a Home Economics lab at the school the week before Divali, the source said.

“The students in that class were not wearing masks because the lab involved cooking and tasting so there were concerns of possible infections in that class,” the source added.

However, even though the teacher reported her result to school officials, the school source said there have been no advisories issued to the students and their parents as to the confirmation of a COVID case at the school.

“This means that students have continued to come to school. They are not aware that their teacher has tested positive,” the source added.

Even worse, thorough sanitisation of the Chaguanas North Secondary school has not been done, the source claimed.

“They sanitised the lab and areas around but it was not thorough sanitisation, just lavender water and bleach.”

Noting that the school should have been shut down and fumigated, the source accused the school officials of not being transparent and open about the situation.

“TTUTA has been informed and teachers have been staying away from the school since her result showed up positive but the students are continuing to show up,” the source explained.

He said most times the students are liming in class rather than doing constructive schoolwork as they are mostly unsupervised.

Contacted for comment, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association Antonia De Freitas confirmed there were eight schools with COVID infections

“There are some cases at some of the schools. Yes, there are cases at Chaguanas North Secondary,” De Freitas said.

On Wednesday health officials reported there have been 55 confirmed COVID cases at secondary schools since face-to-face classes resumed.

These have forced the schools to close temporarily as sanitisation takes place.

Asked yesterday what recommendations TTUTA could make in light of the growing infections at schools, De Freitas said, “TTUTA advised the ministry previously to only bring out students who had practicals to do. The Ministry of Education made a decision to have all students out and therefore teachers out and so the Ministry of Education should be the one offering suggestions as to how to deal with this.”

Asked whether it was a bad decision, De Freitas said, “ I cannot say that, I cannot pronounce on that.”

She added she could not identify the eight schools recording cases, “The Ministry will have to name those schools.”

The TTUTA president said the union has advised teachers to maintain all protocols and to do what was best for health and safety in the face of growing infections.

De Freitas could not say how many teachers have been absent over the past five weeks.

“We have to discuss with our members the current scenario at schools before making any more pronouncements,” she added.