The Ministry of Education says it has held several consultation meetings with stakeholders over the past three months regarding the operations of schools in Term II 2021/2022.
Students of Forms 1-3 or equivalent are required to return to the physical classroom on February 7th, 2022 on a rotational basis – the details of this arrangement for each school will be communicated to parents and students by Principals, but all students should be required to attend school physically at minimum 2 days per week, and 5 days in a 10-day cycle.
The Ministry also said while there are many different views on the return to physical school and how it should be implemented, the major concerns center around the safety of all school personnel, and the quality of life and education to which the children of Trinidad and Tobago are exposed.
In a media release the Ministry said it is established physical teaching and learning is most effective for ECCE, Primary and Secondary School students, but this must be achieved in a manner that is deemed both safe and logistically practical.
It says the results of the SEA and CXC examinations in 2021, when compared with those of 2020, have shown decreases in student performance consistent with the learning loss predicted due to the absence of students from the physical classroom during the pandemic.
The results of the Diagnostic Tests in Math and English Language which all public schools administered in October 2021 also identified gaps in student achievement across levels in these fundamental areas.
Since March 2020, teaching and learning has taken place mainly using the online modality.
The GORTT has approached physical attendance of students using a phased, incremental approach, allowing administrators to develop and adjust policies, systems for monitoring and school operations on small cohorts to avoid overwhelming the system.
Students of Forms 4-6 have attended school physically from February-July 2021 and October – December 2021 and are still in physical attendance at this time.
In addition, physical examinations, involving thousands of our students, have been held for SEA in 2020 and 2021, as well as CSEC and CAPE, held in June 2020, January 2021, June 2021, and, most recently, January 2022.
The conduct of physical school and examinations in Trinidad and Tobago during the pandemic has been challenging, as it is globally.
It has required the understanding and cooperation of all school personnel, including parents, and adjustments to school operations which promote safety.