Rowley says face-to-face classes for vaccinated only
PORT OF SPAIN – The Trinidad and Tobago government on Saturday outlined a two tier system of education for secondary school children as it expressed disappointment that only 25 per cent of students had been vaccinated ahead of the virtual re-opening of schools on September 6.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, speaking at weekly news conference updating the population on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19), said that the government will allow face-to-face classes for students from October 1.
“But that option is going to be offered to vaccinated children only. And those children who are not vaccinated will get their education at this time by an alternative means which the Ministry of Education will outline in the near future.
“It means we are asking that those students be vaccinated fully, meaning first dose, second dose and two weeks to develop their immunity and today I am asking that we offer these children face-to-face education with the relevant teaching and teachers from the first of October.”
Rowley told reporters that the intention is to finish the vaccination of children authorised by the parents by September 14.
“It means that this figure of 25 per cent should rise considerably between now and the 14th of September and the other children who have not been positioned for that arrangements will be made, the school term starts virtually for everybody on the sixth of September. So schools are going to start on September 6, but for those who are vaccinated there will be the option of face to face classes because they are in that condition”.
Rowley said that it appears that the opposition to students being vaccinated “has now morphed into defending their rights and not being vaccinated.
“Whatever that conversation is the final sentence in it is that 75 per cent of children who can be protected by vaccination are not being protected and it is not because you don’t have the vaccine and it is not because we have been appealing and imploring parents to do that for more reasons than one.”
The Trinidad and Tobago government had said it would use the donation of more than 300 000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on school children between the ages 12 to 16 years as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Rowley said that the failure to take advantage of the vaccines available is not only confined to students, but the national population where various choices are available in terms of vaccines. (CMC)