Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has announced that as of Thursday, Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) preparation classes would be ceased and schools will be closed again.
This, he said, had become necessary as children were exposed to the Covid-19 coronavirus, with nine children testing positive for the deadly virus.
Four of those children, according to the prime minister, were attending SEA preparation classes. Eleven schools have been closed for further contact tracing.
The SEA examination, however, would remain on August 20.
Rowley asked that parents of these SEA students to assist in preparing the children for the examination.
He said, “We met yesterday and went through the data step by step, line by line, and we came to conclusion that we would not continue with that experience of bringing SEA children out. This will discontinue from tomorrow, they will not go back out to have classes at school.”
Rowley said barring a disaster, like an explosion on Covid-19 positive cases, the date for the exam will stay.
The Prime Minister said he was disappointed that the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) had called upon teachers to stay away from school ahead of today's decision.
He said, “I was disappointed when heard yesterday TTUTA calling on teachers not to report for work as decision of TTUTA in advance of any national decision. When we say we all in this together we mean everybody.”
Rowley said it was not helpful when people in leadership positions took decisions and refused to accept what the country was doing.
“If one group takes that position to protect their segment what will happen if other leaders do that,” he said.
Regarding the re-opening of schools on September 1, Rowley said the date will remain as the authorities monitor the situation.
He said a decision on the reopening of schools will be taken in the coming week.
“We are now in the first week of August. The decision to reopen schools is a month away, we are not making a change on that date today. We will monitor it for another week or so and based on what comes up we will confirm or review for change,” he said.
'Our liming and drinking friends'
Rowley said that the biggest pool of risk were the people liming, drinking, and eating out at restaurants and bars.
He said there were instances of tracing of Covid contacts that took the authorities to bars.
"Bars and restaurants remain a threat" he said.
He said that he had asked that the Minister of National Security speak with Police Commissioner Gary Griffith to ensure that his officers enforce the law.
Regarding those organizing of parties and people attending parties, he said these people were threatening the entire population.
He said the last lock down cost billions of dollars and if there was another lock down, billions of dollars were not available and the jobs saved in the first lock down, may not be salvaged in another lock down.
Regarding the last days of the election on Monday, people not congregate, and not gather, election victory or not.
Regarding the repatriation of nationals, Rowley said it was working well, and people had been allowed to quarantine at home, it would not have worked out well.
If left uncheck, the numbers would explode.
He said that Paria Suites in La Romaine, south Trinidad was now a quarantine site, with 64 rooms available.
The prime minister disclosed that 100 people were being repatriated this weekend and would enter quarantine.
Regarding the threshold for postponing the general election, he said it would be there where the virus was out of control, and is likely to be out of control.
He said the country was far from this.