ALTA Students in the Time of Covid

i Oct 28th No Comments by

Today we come to the
end of our series of articles featuring the work of ALTA students during Covid.

We note that while
ALTA students join classes with varying degrees of reading and writing skill, the
pieces shared in this series are from student writers at ALTA Level 3 and the ALTA
Spelling Programme. These students are competent readers who have reached a
certain comfort level with the written word and are acquiring mastery of
Standard English grammar and spelling.

The main take
away our students have emphasised in these featured pieces and throughout our
classes has been resilience, resourcefulness and continued hope for a brighter
future with a strong foundation of improved literacy.

Student CS shares
her thoughts and experience of the pandemic. While it has been a time of
anxiety, struggle and adversity, she is optimistic about the future now that
vaccines are finally available.


The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the lives
of many – both locally and by extension internationally. Having to battle with
the virus has taken its course leaving many with a scar to remember. Since
December 2019, I can still remember hearing the news about this coronavirus
coming from China and the potential impact on a person’s health and the

However, this became a reality in March 2020,
almost one year ago, when the Prime Minister announced that there would be a
serious restriction with respect to movement and human interaction within
Trinidad and Tobago. I especially recall sitting and watching in amazement and horror
as several things I enjoyed doing such as hanging out, visiting the beach, enjoying
a bite of bake and shark, cooking by the river and even simple things like
being able to sit in a taxi, were being impacted.

Almost every person in the country was forced
to remain at home. The pandemic brought me to a point where I was in a state of
anxiety, causing me to spiral into frustration, creating panic about not having
enough money to sustain my family. I even recall the fear of leaving the house
to simply go to the grocery to pick up food items.

Due to the uncertainty of not knowing how long
the shutdown was going to last, there were times when I had to explain to my
young nieces and nephews why schools were closed. The closure of school also
created panic among the younger ones who were preparing to sit the Secondary Entrance
Assessment, as they were worried about not having the opportunity to complete
their studies.

I even recall having to counsel a close friend
whose livelihood was dependent on driving a taxi. His income continues to be
negatively impacted by the pandemic as to this day he cannot operate his taxi at
full capacity. Similarly, another friend of mine, who worked in a gym, lost her
job due to the length of time they were forced to remain closed. It was really
sad to witness.

At a point in time, my grandmother did not
want to leave the house because of the fear instilled in her by watching the
news constantly. She was afraid of catching this virus because, due to her
medical condition, she feared that her chance of surviving the virus was slim
to none.

Over the past few months, the lockdown allowed
us to learn to live with limited movement and eventually I was able to return
to work. The changes made as a result of the pandemic are the new normal and my
challenge is juggling school and work once again. Additionally, the government,
educational institutions and some businesses across the nation began implementing
policies that allowed persons to work or attend school from home, resulting in
many persons investing in laptops, printers and tablets.

I remember finally being able to visit the
beach after four to six months and to be able to press my feet into the sand.
In spite of all the challenges, the entire year has been an event of struggle
and adversity for many including myself. Thankfully, Trinidad and Tobago has
not been impacted as badly as the rest of the world, especially the United
States where over five hundred thousand people died from the coronavirus.

While it is not something I’m accustomed to, I
must say that I, along with many others, am tired of having to wear a mask that
impacts on one’s ability to breathe properly. Also, I anxiously await the day when
I can go out and not have my makeup smeared or lipstick not show. With this in
mind, I understand the importance and safety of wearing the facemask and I,
therefore, will be wearing my mask with a smile.

One of the things I missed most of all is
being able to travel as I look forward to going to another island. I’m
optimistic as to what the next couple of months will bring now that vaccines
are becoming available.

If you or someone you know is
interested in joining an ALTA-V class, enhancing their literacy through ALTA
Online Level 1 or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

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