The Trinidad and Tobago government has outlined a two-tier system of education for secondary school children as it expressed disappointment that only 25 percent of students had been vaccinated ahead of the virtual re-opening of schools on September 6.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, speaking at a weekly news conference, 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, a 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 said.
Rowley told reporters that the intention is to finish the vaccination program of children by September 14.
“It means that this figure of 25 percent 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”.
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 of 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.
Rowley said that despite only 36 percent of the population being vaccinated, the government is monitoring the situation as it pertains to re-opening the other sectors of the economy and “is currently evaluating the removal of the last restrictions on the retail trade where large numbers of people were allowed to continue their daily lives.
“But we will not get a clear figure as to the outcome of that removal of that restriction until another week which would be the end of the 14-day cycle to see what effect that had on the population’s infection instances and I would say today if at the end of that week when we finish assessing the retail trade coming out we are still in the same similar kind of situation we are in today…we are hoping then to give some relief to the national population with respect to the participation in religious.
“So we are hoping, in short, to open back up pray services …where you worship with some restrictions on the numbers, more than likely, Rowley added.