The Ellerslie School, Black Rock, St. Michael, will be temporarily closed for the next 14 days after a student there tested positive for COVID-19.
The student, a 15-year-old female who is in Fifth Form, was one of three persons who recently tested positive for the virus.
To this end, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, said the Ministry had decided that the school will close from tomorrow, Monday, October 5. Classes will resume on Monday, October 19.
This is to allow for officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness to carry out the necessary contact tracing and also for a thorough cleaning of the school to be carried out before students return.
Speaking at press briefing this evening at the Ministry to apprise the nation of the situation, Ms. Bradshaw strongly urged parents, students and teachers to co-operate fully with health officials as they conduct their investigations.
“Students should, wherever possible, remain at home and parents would contact the Ministry of Health hotline in the event that they develop symptoms of any kind associated with COVID-19. Any student or member of staff who may wish also to be tested, who have not come into contact with the young lady, will obviously not be refused at this stage,” she emphasised, adding that the 15-year-old student was “doing well” so far.
During the school’s closure, students will be learning online. The Education Minister pointed out that just over 100 students at Ellerslie were without devices.
She noted that the Ministry of Education was “making best efforts” to ensure they were provided with the necessary devices to facilitate online learning over the next two weeks.
Ms. Bradshaw said she was confident in the ability of the officers from the Ministry of Health and Wellness to “wrestle the situation to the ground”.
She added that this was not the first time since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic that the country had to deal with transmission which involved a cluster of cases.
She cited the clusters which took place a few months ago within churches, at the National Assistance Board and a case where the Ministry of Health and Wellness had to conduct contact tracing of approximately 30 students at the University of the West Indies when a student who returned to Trinidad from Barbados tested positive for the virus.
“The fact remains that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has been managing this situation as it relates to COVID-19 and we are indeed grateful to them for their guidance and continued direction given to the Ministry of Education.
“…We give you the commitment from the Ministry of Education that we are going to continue to do what is in the best interest of our teachers and indeed all of our students to make sure they are safe and secure in the working environment,” stated Ms. Bradshaw, who added that immediately following the press conference Education officials would meet with the staff at The Ellerslie School.
She added that persons who had further questions could contact the school directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the COVID-19 hotline at 536-4500.