With efforts on to rectify nagging environmental issues at Combermere School, it remained unclear today exactly when classes will resume at the Waterford, St Michael institution which has been closed since last Wednesday.
When Minister of Education Ronald Jones toured the institution this afternoon along with Parliamentary Secretary Harry Husbands, Acting Chief Education Officer Karen Best, other Ministry officials and stakeholders, they were unable to say when students and staff will return to the location.
However, the Minister noted that everything necessary and possible was being done to get the matter rectified as soon as possible and revealed that locations have been identified to hold temporary classes, if the work is not completed on time.
“We leave that to the experts and the Ministry of Labour to give us that direction and when we get that direction,
we will then be able to say to the students, teachers and all the parties concerned that school will recommence at Combermere,” Jones said.
Jones, who inspected the progress of the ongoing work which commenced last week to identify the sources of the concerns, said a high level of alacrity was being applied to the effort to ensure that students and teachers returned to a safe and healthy environment.
He told reporters: “Work has been quite rapid and will be ongoing because we have to ensure that all parties are satisfied and that those who have to give us the all clear, will give us the all clear.
“I am not a scientist so I have to accept the guidance on this matter. Thankfully, we are arriving at a conclusion on the matter but it is not for me to speak about that conclusion.”
Principal Vere Parris who publicly voiced his concerns about the matter before, reiterated that he was still concerned that external factors might be contributing to the environmental challenges and indicated that relevant agencies will be monitoring that aspect of the issue.
Meanwhile, fifth form students, teachers and ancillary staff were temporarily relocated to the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Pine Hill, St Michael, from today. In a press release, Parris said the transition process went smoothly with just over 140 students reporting for classes.
Parris pointed out during a meeting before classes that they were instructed about how the day would be organized and where classes would be conducted in the available rooms at the college. The principal added that apart from the set classes for the day –– English and Geography, others had been scheduled since teachers had met with Heads of Departments on Friday, April 24, and would have determined with their particular groups [of students] some special sessions necessary for preparing students for their exams.
“The students will go off on examination leave at the end of this week, so they were able to determine which subjects they wanted to focus on and they [teachers] would have wanted to have little tutorial sessions with those students
as well,” he noted, adding that at least one sixth form class was expected to be on the Erdiston compound today to take a module test.
According to Parris, sixth formers who are slated to come on Wednesday, April 29, and Thursday, April 30, will undergo a similar schedule of work as well as do some module tests.