CAY BAY - Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs visited the Leonard Connor School Tuesday morning to ascertain how the school was coping with the challenges faced with the noxious gasses which have been negatively affecting the students and staff of the school. The Minister also wanted to make sure that all persons involved knew and understood that the challenges with air pollution negatively affecting the students and staff has the attention of the Ministry Education Culture Youth and Sports.
The Inspectorate ECYS, VSA, and VROMI, as well as the Fire Department, are actively seeking solutions to alleviate the symptoms being experienced at the school. Measurements of the levels of gasses in and around the school and the surrounding Cay Bay areas have been made over the past 6 days at varying times during the day. The group of Inspectors and the Fire Department met againTuesday and recommendations will be sent in writing to the relevant Ministers as well as NV GEBE and other stakeholders.
Minister of Education, in the meeting with teachers, reassured them that all would be done to alleviate the symptoms of the students and staff at the school.
Several actions being undertaken by the Ministry were discussed:
1. Cleaning of the school will take place to remove the fine dust – started Tuesday to be finalized Wednesday
2. The electrical upgrade will take place - necessary to carry the load of the new units
3. Air condition units will be installed - 0 emissions were measured in classroom currently equipped with air condition units
4. Further investigations as to the make-up of gasses in our environment will be done by professionals
5. Masks to filter the air will be made available to all – quotations requested, information from VSA as to right type needed for gases was sought
6. Recommendations have already been made to NV GEBE and will be followed up by the relevant authorities
Earlier, the Teachers initiated a sit-in, and submitted a list of requirements to the Minister to be able to return to work. The requirements fell in line with the plans already in place by the Ministry, and Minister Jacobs in a letter to teachers reassured them that the immediate actions would be taken, and had in fact those actions started around midday on Tuesday.
The school will be closed on Wednesday in order for the thorough cleaning of the fine dust from the premises to be be completed as well as to allow the Ministry the time to purchase the masks which can be worn by the school staff and students should the air quality deteriorate while other solutions are being worked out.
A meeting is scheduled to be held with parents and teachers on Wednesday evening at 7 pm at the school to inform parents and teachers at the school about the way forward. The various Inspectors will be present to clarify any questions. Representatives of NV GEBE have also been invited. School is expected to resume on Thursday God spare life.
Minister Silveria Jacobs further reiterated in correspondence to teachers that "We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety and health of all students and staff and will keep you updated as to when the electrical upgrades and installation of air conditioning will take place. The Ministry is taking every step necessary to get this done in the shortest possible time."
The Minister requests the management, teachers, staff and parents' cooperation in finding viable solutions while ensuring the continued education of the students entrusted to our care in a safe environment.