The situation with schools is not good. Online schooling is a failure. What was already a messy and dysfunctional educational system in T&T, where too many children are regularly put down by teachers, has been worsened by Government’s handling of the COVID-19 epidemic. The latest fiasco is the decision to allow only vaccinated children into schools. Children have to be vaccinated to enter schools but not teachers, security guards, cleaners, roadside vendors or the people who transport children?
The priority in vaccination for COVID are adults not children.
Because essentially you have an illness that is not very dangerous for children, who are not very contagious, seemingly being forced into getting vaccinated and then being punished for not getting vaccinated whilst the adults around them, including their teachers, vaccinated or not, get away.
Truly gobar runs downhill, children do not vote and unions of adults have their own agenda.
The refusal to let a 17-day-old baby into T&T with his fully vaccinated, PCR-negative mother because he did not have a negative PCR is but another example of the lowly status children hold in T&T.
We know so much more now about this virus and its effects on schooling.
We know that schools do not transmit the virus as much as the virus is transmitted in the community. We know that when community cases are high, cases of COVID in the school are high. We know that when community cases are low, cases of COVID in schools are low. We know that by and large, adults give the virus to kids and not kids to adults.
We have known since the very beginning of the outbreak that COVID is a disease of adults, that the older you are the higher the mortality.
We were astounded to realise about halfway through the epidemic that it was rare for a child to die of COVID.
We know especially that the younger the child, the less the child transmits the virus or gets ill. We have known for months that day care centres, preschools and primary schoolchildren never needed to be closed because those children almost never get ill and transmit the virus and that it is the secondary school kids that are the most susceptible.
We know that all over the world, people have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep schools open.
We know of countries where schools never closed. Never closed!
We have heard so many of these countries say schools should be the last thing to close and the first to open.
Such is the urgency to keep some form of education going, even the unreliable virtual system, that we know of schools without internet access where buses with portable internet systems are parked up in strategic locations so that online classes can be held.
That there are “forest” schools in Europe that make use of the knowledge that outside is safer than inside. That there are schools where classroom windows are automatically opened every half hour to make use of the knowledge that good ventilation decreases the likelihood of viral transmission.
We know that masks in classroom help keep down the slight risk of classroom transmission.
We know that teenagers do need to be vaccinated but after the community, the elderly, the obese, have been vaccinated.
I too distrust the pharmaceutical industry and their greed for money but they are capable of enormous scientific advances.
I believe that most vaccines, including all the COVID vaccines, work well.
I do not believe in mandatory vaccines, except where there is a public health emergency and the COVID pandemic is a public health emergency for adults.
I reject the ideas of the anti-vaxxers, while remaining open to dialogue with those who are vaccine hesitant for the short term because time is running out, has run out, and unless we make one last attempt to vaccinate everyone, disaster is on the horizon.
Individual choice cannot exist in a vacuum. We are social animals who need to cooperate with each other for society to function. We can and should discuss how far the need for society to function overcomes the rightful demand for citizens to choose.
So I return to my opening question. You have an illness that is not very dangerous for children, who are not very contagious, seemingly being forced into being vaccinated and then being punished for not getting vaccinated whilst the most vulnerable, the adults around them, including their teachers, get away?