On the surface, it looks like yet another setback to the reopening of schools but for some parents, it could be a blessing in disguise.
It was originally set for September 1, but now the Government has said in-person classes would not recommence before January 2021 due to the community spread of COVID-19 cases.
The administrator of a popular local parenting group on Facebook, Trini Moms, which has close to 23,000 members, said the announcement by the Prime Minister came as a relief for many.
“A lot of parents were very apprehensive even about sending their children back out to school in September. They were not sure it would be safe from a COVID perspective and I think for many parents it sort of came as a relief when the announcement was officially made that school will not reopen until January,” Michelle Foreman, Trini Moms administrator said.
Foreman, a single parent, joined the group in 2006 shortly after it was launched. The aim was and still remains supporting Trinidad and Tobago parents with whatever issues they may have. As of right now the main concern is the education of their children. To this she said homeschooling is a good option as she has done so herself for three years. She said many are now agreeing with her.
“There has been a much-increased interest in out homeschooling. A lot of parents are asking how do I go about doing this and really reaching out for advice.”
In terms of the national education system though, the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) said all stakeholders will have to discuss with the Ministry of Education how curriculum delivery would be facilitated.
“The move to online teaching, if necessary, will require meticulous planning. This process must be based on sound education policy development and implementation. Meaningful stakeholder collaboration on a consistent basis is imperative, to ensure that all students are treated equitably and fairly,” TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas said.
Another key stakeholder, the National Council of Parent Teacher Association (NCPTA) said this is what it has been saying all along, that schools should remain closed till January 2021.
Acting president Clarence Mendoza said teachers will simply have to continue their work as they have been.
“I think that they have been doing yeoman service to the nation and they must be commended.”
On Saturday, the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the closure of all schools in order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus.
Several schools that reopened for SEA preparation had to be closed because of exposure to COVID-19 positive patients.
He said the only exception will be made for SEA students who have to turn up to write exams on Thursday.