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Friday 14 August, 2020

Eight schools still closed after earthquake

While 25 schools were unable to reopen at the start of the new school term on Monday, by Tuesday, the majority of them were back open.

The aftermath of a magnitude 6.9 earthquake and a magnitude 5.9 aftershock on August 21 and 22 respectively, saw 95 schools reporting varying degrees of damage.

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At a media conference at the Education Towers on Tuesday, Chief Education Officer Harrilal Seecharan said of the five schools the Ministry previously indicated would not be open, arrangements have already been made at some of the schools where possible, to ensure minimal disruption to classes.

However, Education Minister Anthony Garcia is hopeful that classes will resume at all schools across Trinidad by the end of the week.

At Curepe Anglican Primary School, arrangements have been put in place for Standards 3, 4 and 5 students to continue classes at a building on the school’s compound unaffected by the earthquake. The Standard 1 and 2 students will be relocated to the St Augustine South Government Primary School.

Classes have already resumed at the Siparia Road Presbyterian School for students of the Forest Reserve Anglican Primary School.

Standard 5 students at the Diego Martin Roman Catholic Girls’ School have been relocated to the St Joseph Hall, while students of Standards 1 and 2 will be relocated to the Parish Hall. Standards 3 and 4 will remain at a section of the school which did not sustain any damage in the earthquake.

Similar arrangements are to be put in place at a number of other schools, with the expectation that all classes are back in session by Friday.

Structural engineers have visited 65 schools of the 95 that have reported damage caused by the August 21 earthquake.

Priority has been given to ensure that classes resume for students at 12 schools which have been identified as having suffered major structural damage, and another eight schools, which remain completely closed.

Four schools sustained damage to some sections of their buildings but that has not prevented the resumption of classes.

Closed schools

Santa Maria RC Primary School

Diego Martin RC Girls’ Primary School

Debe Hindu SDMS Primary School

Nipal Presbyterian School

Diego Martin Government Primary School

St Stephen’s College

Curepe Anglican Primary School

Forest Reserve EC Primary School

Dayanand Memorial Vedic (APS) Primary Schools

Garcia stressed that this is the only occasion that there have been this many schools unable to reopen after the July/August vacation – a situation due entirely to the earthquake.  

“This is a major achievement by the Ministry of Education to have more than 700 schools open their doors in spite of the fact that more than 50 percent of these schools are aged. But, we have been doing everything possible to ensure that we do what we are supposed to do.”

Garcia assured that there is close monitoring of the situation as it progresses.


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