Fatima College will balance educating vaccinated and non vaccinated students

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Fatima College will balance educating vaccinated and non vaccinated students

Photo source: Fatima College Young Leaders

Catholic secondary are preparing for the return of their senior students, as schools across Trinidad & Tobago are set to have in-person classes for the first time since March 2020.

Vaccinated students from Forms Four to Six will return to school on Monday, October 4. However, the challenge will be educating those students who remain unvaccinated for various reasons. Fr Gregory Augustine CSSp, Principal of the Our Lady of Fatima College, told Catholic News today Thursday, September 30, that the Ministry of Education “has given the green light for vaccinated students to come out” and his hope is “as many that have taken the vaccine can resume in person school, which is what we know”.

Fatima College, as the school is known, has close to 900 students and of these, “over 80 per cent of the senior students have been vaccinated,” Fr Augustine said. As well, more than 50 of the 60-teaching staff have been vaccinated. At a private virtual meeting with parents on Tuesday, September 28, Fr Augustine explained that it was impractical and impossible to have in-person classes for vaccinated students and simultaneously Zoom classes for unvaccinated students. His comments began circulating on social media the following day, eventually making news. According to one newspaper report, parents of unvaccinated students are upset at this decision.

Fr Augustine told Catholic News that for logistical reasons, blended learning (teaching virtually and in-person) was impossible. He gave as an example capacity limitation to the wireless networking technology (WiFi) for simultaneous streaming.

He noted that unvaccinated students will receive schoolwork, assignments and tests via the Google classroom platforms set up for each class and can communicate with their teachers. The lower forms (One, Two and Three) will continue with virtual classes.

Principals of Catholic secondary schools have been meeting with parents online to discuss the resumption of face-to-face classes and address any concerns. The Catholic Education Board of Management under whose remit is five government-assisted secondary schools met with its principals today, and the Ministry of Education held a media on the reopening of schools.

School principal, Fr Gregory with members of the Fatima College Young Leaders (2019)

This is a developing story