The first week back at school for Sharon Primary School students has been a success, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training Santia Bradshaw has revealed.
But in the coming days and weeks, health and education officials will be called upon to closely monitor any developments in the situation, which left students and teachers severely ill and forced an over three-week closure in the early stages of the new school year.
While addressing journalists at the St Mary’s Primary School on Friday, Bradshaw admitted a few students had taken ill this week, but preliminary indications suggest there is no link to environmental issues.
“Things seem to have settled down well at Sharon Primary School. We’ve had a couple reports of people not feeling well, but we don’t have anything confirmed about anything connected to any environmental issue,” said Bradshaw.
As part of the continuous environmental assessments, the Education Minister promised air quality testing would continue to take place at the school for a comprehensive assessment of the school’s environs.
On Monday when school reopened, parents said they were happy to have their children back in the classroom, but expressed disappointment about being left in the dark about the full extent of the issues.
“There are still continuing the air quality testing because I am mindful that people are not settled in terms of what the actual cause was, but I want to make sure that once people go back into the environment and anything is detected, that we are able to act on it as quickly as possible,” said Bradshaw.
“We were able last week to engage the services of an entity to do some air quality testing, which is something the parents had requested at the meeting which I would have attended. I think we got the all clear in the week before school started.”
The Education Minister also provided an update on the Maria Holder Nursery and said there were no reports of illness affecting teachers or students.
“The Maria Holder Nursery has had no reports of illnesses from the teachers. I think she [the principal] reported 91 out of 94 students were present. So that gave me some assurance that whatever problems existed may have been very specific to the issues identified by the ministry of health. But we are going to continue to monitor the situation and I think that perhaps is all that we can do at this point in time,” she said.
“The Ministry of Health has given some assurances that there are also going to continue to look into the issues raised by the parents on the issue of air filtration systems and we will continue to monitor with them the results and findings from those investigations as well,” Bradshaw added.