The President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) Mary Redman is not ruling out permanent closure of the Combermere School.
However, Redman was adamant that the root cause of ongoing environmental problems at the school must first be found.
She was responding to a plea made yesterday by the head of the school’s History department, Reverend Charles Morris, for abandonment of the more than century-old Waterford, St Michael building.
The appeal came immediately after classes were aborted due to a foul odour, which Principal Vere Parris said was emanating from nearby trees.
However, while warning that the health situation at the school was fast deteriorating, the Anglican cleric reported to Barbados TODAY that dozens of students were going home sick every day and that teachers at Combermere School were also at serious risk.
Parris could not be reached today for further comment, but Redman told Barbados TODAY this afternoon she was of the view that further investigations were needed as a matter of urgency in order to determine the exact source of the problem, after the school was also closed last October.
“We thought that the problems had been addressed and that everything was honkey doorey, but the fact is, the same problems have resurfaced or are resurfacing . . . children are falling sick, teachers are falling sick, they are having gaseous [issues] that are affecting persons again and so we need to look seriously at this to see what we missed.
“If it is in fact something that we missed, [a determination would have to be made] of where we go from there,” she added.
Asked directly if she felt the school should be permanently closed, the union leader replied: “Obviously if there is cause yes, but we have to determine that there is cause.
“What I mean is that further investigations have to be done at the school to determine why what we thought was fixed had not been fixed; why the problems have resurfaced and resurfaced in many instances in the same way,” the BSTU president explained. (EJ)