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Schools’ swine flu alert

Parents warned to keep kids who show flu signs at home
Friday, January 1, 2016
Education Minister Anthony Garcia,left, listens to the view of TTUTA president Davanand Sinanan, following a press conference at the ministry's headquarters in St Clair, Port-of-Spain yesterday. Looking on is NPTA President Zena Ramatali. Photo: MARCUS GONZALES

Parents are being told to keep their children away from school come Monday when the new school term reopens, once they display cold and flu symptoms or any other form of discomfort.

This is a major precaution undertaken by the Ministry of Education following a request by the Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh in  bid to prevent the spread of the H1N1 influenza (swine flu).

During a press conference yesterday, which was held at the Ministry of Education head office in St Clair, Minister Anthony Garcia made the call to parents and added that both ministries (Health and Education) were currently still engaged in discussions.

"We are doing everything that is necessary to ensure the safety of our children in the schools. There are certain basic health protocols that were given to schools by the Ministry of Health. This goes back years. We are calling on all members to please take a minute to ensure that those protocols are observed and enforced in all our schools regarding teachers and students," Garcia said.

When contacted for comment yesterday, Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh said that despite that there are 42 lab-confirmed cases of the H1N1 influenza in T&T, he maintained that there was no need to organize the vaccination in the schools.

"I would only reiterate what the Minister of Education said which is to keep your children away from school only if they display cold and flu symptoms and also for reiterate my plea that I made two months ago to parents, which is to have their child/children, once they are five years and under to get them vaccinated because it is the children who are under five years that are susceptible," Deyalsingh said.

He disclosed that there are 42 lab-confirmed cases in T&T and added that there are also confirmed cases throughout the Caribbean.

It was previously reported that the Ministry of Health had placed an order with the Pan American Health Organisation for 20,000 additional vaccines.

In October, former health minister Dr Fuad Khan called on citizens to be cautious as there was a resurgence of the virus in India and parts of South Asia, which share close ties with T&T. 

He noted the 2009 pandemic in which 14,286 confirmed deaths were reported and called on local authorities to put the proper measures in place.

Khan’s call followed the death of a Siparia woman, Cherrie Ryce, that same month as a result of H1N1 at the San Fernando General Hospital.

The death was brought to the attention of the media by concerned relatives.

In October, the Caribbean Public Health Agency said it had received 284 samples for influenza virus testing, of which 47 tested positive while 14 were typed as Influenza-A H1N1.

Schools To close for exams

Several schools throughout T&T will remain closed on Monday and Tuesday, while some, only the Form One and Form Two students will be affected. This, according, to the Minister of Education, Anthony Garcia, is to accommodate students writing the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations.

The following Secondary Schools that will remain closed and will re-open for the new term on Wednesday are:

Diego Martin North

Bon Air 

Diego Martin Central

La Romaine 


Marabella North

Marabella South

San Juan North

Siparia West

South Eastern Port-of-Spain

St Augustine 


The following Secondary Schools that will only affect Forms One and Two students are:

Barataria South

Point Fortin East

Barataria North

Mount Hope

North Eastern College 

Rio Claro East

El Dorado East


Chaguanas North

Chaguanas South

Princes Town West

El Dorado West


Mucurapo West



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