Chief Education Officer (CEO), Elvis Morain has announced that a number of schools will not be ready to re-open in time for the start of the new School Year on Monday 5th September.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing Tuesday at the Ministerial Complex, Morain said that the Bonair Government School in St. Mark and the Happy Hill RC School in St. George North-west will open their doors to students after the September 5 start due to delays in completing refurbishment work and other issues.
He also said that two schools – Bishop’s College on the sister isle of Carriacou and Paraclete Government – will experience a little discomfort when they reopen to students.
Earlier this year, the Bonair Government School was temporarily closed due to chemical exposure after the roof of the building was sprayed to prevent bat infestation.
The chemical had health effects on students and teachers and despite efforts to combat the problem, there is still the lingering scent of the chemical forcing the school to re-open one week late.
According to Morain, there is still a lingering scent at the school from the chemicals.
“We thought with time that (scent) would have disappeared. It seems as though it’s taking longer than it ought to, therefore, we had to specifically in some locations remove the ply and as we speak the work is going on”, he said.
The CEO in the Ministry of Education also reported that the Happy Hill RC School will open after September 5 as work is still ongoing to complete construction of a concrete roof on its toilet area.
Morain said that Bishop’s College on the sister isle is under refurbishment from funds made available by the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
“We would have the main block refurbished which would include the Principal office, the Administrative staff areas as well as about seven classrooms, IT area, and Science Block”, he added.
The senior education official stated that the ministry is not sure whether all the students can be accommodated on Monday but that it is working along with the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs, Principal and Staff and the District Education team to find temporary accommodation for the students.
According to Morain, the students at the Paraclete Government School will have to be relocated as the facility is not ready.
He said: …Those of you who know Paraclete well, you know that there are five or six blocks there and because of the population of the school, we (thought) that refurbished work could have been done in a strategic way so we could have been able to have them re-occupy sections of the school but that didn’t happen. So, we have already identified relocation, space and so on…” he said.