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The Vistabella Presbyterian Primary School, where over 50 pupils are still awaiting COVID-19 tests results although they’ve been cleared by the Health Ministry to sit the exam on Thursday.

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The Ministry of Health has given clearance to all pupils with no COVID-19 symptoms previously under self-quarantine to write the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examinations whether or not they get back their test results.

This as parents of the Vistabella Presbyterian Primary School yesterday expressed frustration with delays in getting back results for their children eight days after they were swabbed and samples sent for testing. Some of the parents were called in for results after midday yesterday but most were yet to collect their results.

But in a statement yesterday, the ministry said from the end of July to the first week of August 2020, 11 schools were closed due to positive COVID-19 patients being either present at the institutions or in close contact with those attending them.

“In this regard, the public is advised that the 14-day quarantine periods for the students have ended. All students who have not received a positive COVID-19 test result and continue to have no symptoms have been given clearance by the public health authority to be released from their quarantine,” the ministry said.

The ministry said it has already provided the necessary recommendations to the Ministry of Education to ensure the implementation of the required infection control protocols at schools. The ministry said persons requiring clarification can contact the Office of the County Medical Officer of Health..

The Vistabella Presbyterian pupils were swabbed and tested for COVID-19 on August 11 after a classmate tested positive. Their test results were supposed to have been ready since last Friday. Up to yesterday morning, however, there was no feedback from the authorities.

Five parents spoke to Guardian Media under anonymity and said they were frustrated with the lack of information. A parent said he stopped his child from attending classes on July 28 after hearing another pupil from a school in North Trinidad had tested positive.

“I didn’t want to take chances with my son so I decided we will stop him from attending classes and we will do his revision at home. He went for the first week after classes resumed and two days in the second week, which was some time at the end of July,” the parent said.

He explained that the day after General Election, a County Medical Officer of Health official advised him that a pupil from the SEA class had tested positive and his son needed testing. The entire family went under self-quarantine at home.

The father said although more than 14 days had passed since his last school attendance, the Health Ministry insisted testing was necessary so he decided to follow through with the protocols.

“They told us because the children were writing SEA they will fast track the results and we should get it by Friday or latest Monday, but no one has received any feedback and no one is placing any urgency on the matter. The children are in a dilemma now. Tomorrow is Wednesday (today), one day before the exam and they don’t know what is happening with them. That is our situation right now,” he said.