ALTA Students in the Time of Covid

i Oct 14th No Comments by

Life everywhere continues to be dominated by the pandemic and many of us
have been forced to adapt. We continue our series featuring the work of ALTA
students who tell us how they fared during this time of uncertainty.

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

Andrea Dube has shown strength and ingenuity. She signed up for ALTA
Virtual classes to improve herself, but it also helped to keep her mind off
Covid. Here is her story.


Coronavirus started in Wuhan, China in early December 2019. During this time,
most of us were unaware of its significance. I didn’t know anything about the
coronavirus and did not think much of it at the time, but I used to listen to
the daily news and I could hear the reporters talking about the Coronavirus
which is also known as the Covid-19.

My sister
informed me about the seriousness of the virus because around that time people
started dying when they contracted it and it began spreading quickly from
country to country. I became worried because Carnival was approaching in
Trinidad and Tobago and people usually come from all different parts of the
world to enjoy our national culture.

After Carnival
ended and I realized that there were no Covid-19 cases in Trinidad and Tobago,
I breathed a sigh of relief but I was still worried about other countries. My
sister kept telling me about the seriousness of the virus because at the time
she was at home and would keep abreast of the daily news.

On March 12th,
2020, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, more specifically Trinidad, received
its first Covid-19 case. I remembered the day so vividly. I was working and a
customer came into my workplace and said that someone came into the country
with the Covid-19 virus and was placed into quarantine. On my way home, the
announcement was made on the news. By the time I got home, both my mother and
sister were aware of the news and they became afraid saying, “we got a case of
the virus”. The Health Minister also confirmed this tragedy. Some days later,
another case was confirmed and unfortunately this person succumbed to the
deadly virus.

We soon
realized that every new case that was discovered came from a person that
recently arrived in Trinidad and on March 22nd 2020, the government
decided to close our borders. To date, our borders remain closed. In addition
to the closure of our borders, all our beaches were closed and all persons that
were classed as non-essential workers had to remain at home thus putting the
country in a state of lock down.

I remember
people began to panic buy grocery items such as hand sanitizers and hand soap
as well as other cleaning products which eventually became difficult to
acquire. Some persons began manufacturing their own hand sanitizer and started
selling them. Soon after, the Health Minister announced that a face mask had to
be worn in all public spaces. This was especially hard for me because I have asthma
so I avoided going out in public.

My mother also
avoided going outdoors unless it was absolutely essential and she even became a
little paranoid. It became quite difficult for us to survive because I stayed
at home and was no longer generating an income. Eventually, the government
issued grants to persons who became unemployed and this helped to ease my
burden. Grocery items were donated by good Samaritans to assist my household.

Returning to
work was a delightful feeling even though there were a number of changes that
were made to my daily life. Social distancing, wearing a face mask, washing and
sanitizing one’s hands all became mandatory.

Whilst working one day, I was listening to 100.1 FM and I heard an announcement for ALTA Virtual classes. I wrote down the contact information and called them the following day to sign up for the classes. ALTA Virtual classes have been a tremendous help to me because I am being taught by two wonderful tutors who dedicate their time in assisting me to improve my literacy. I always look forward to my Mondays and Wednesdays ALTA virtual classes which help to keep my mind off the stresses of Covid-19.

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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