MoE updates COVID-19 case management guide for all schools and stakeholders

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MoE updates COVID-19 case management guide for all schools and stakeholders

With a high number of Covid-19 cases found within the school population, the Education Ministry has now released a series of updated protocols, which will see Education District Health Units (EDHU) and representatives from County Medical Officer of Health offices engaging with school officials.

The announcement came from the Ministry of Education last evening, following a meeting with education stakeholders where COVID-19 in schools was a part of the discussion and also led to the updating of protocols. 

According to a release from the ministry yesterday, it “prepared and issued to all principals and stakeholders a COVID-19 Case Management Guide which provides greater detail regarding the procedure for managing both suspected and positive cases of the COVID-19 virus in schools.”

From May 11, principals, middle managers, vice principals and senior teachers of each education district will be approached by the EDHU and CMOH office representatives to discuss the case management in further detail. 

Present at the meeting were representatives from the Division of Education, Research and Technology of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), denominational boards, associations of private primary and secondary schools, principals’ associations for primary and secondary schools, and the National Parent Teachers Association (NPTA).

“Though the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) was unable to attend this meeting owing to prior commitments, the union is in communication with the ministry, and a meeting to discuss it’s contribution is imminent.”

The release said the ministry lauded the efforts of all staff, stakeholders, parents, teachers, middle management, and principals “as TT seeks to offer the best educational opportunity possible, in the time of the pandemic, to our children. Our continued co-operation and commitment during this transitionary period will be critical for realisation of the best outcomes.”

In an interview Guardian Media following the meeting, acting General Secretary of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS), Vijay Maharaj, said they raised the issue of inconsistent protocols being used between education districts in managing confirmed cases or suspected cases in the classroom. 

“If we take one district and a child is suspected of COVID and has COVID in that particular district, the principal will be told who are the four children seated around…so they will also go into quarantine,” he said.

“But in other districts, they are sending the entire class home.” 

He said he also called for the Ministry of Education to collaborate with the Ministry of Health to issue weekly updates on the COVID-19 case load within the public school system.

The last official count places 316 COVID-19 cases coming from staff and students of at least 243 schools since the term began on April 19. It averages to just over one case per affected school.