Classes resumed at Lawrence T. Gay Memorial Primary today with ten teachers reportedly on certified sick leave.
Vice President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Richmark Cave told members of the media gathered outside the Spooners Hill, St Michael institution this morning, that while school was in session following last week’s closure due to environmental concerns, if there was anything on the compound that was a “risk” to the health of students or teachers, necessary actions would be taken.
“We had a meeting yesterday with the officials from the Ministry of Education and we spoke with officials from the Ministry of Health, and they said they have done tests and they have not found anything on the premises that could be affecting the teachers and the students and therefore the school would re-open,” Cave said.
Cave who is also the physical education teacher at the institution added: “We don’t have our full quota of teachers. We have about nine to ten teachers who are on certified sick leave but all the others are here”.
A release from the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training outlined that the Ministry of Health and Wellness confirmed that the environment was safe for teachers and students to return to the compound.
After Lawrence T. Gay closed early on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, a statement from the ministry stated that the school was shut down due to a low turnout of teaching staff.
Earlier news reports indicated that the closure was to allow an odour affecting students and staff to dissipate. The ministry had explained that the odour came from outside the school compound.
Parents and guardians who collected their children last Thursday said having to leave work early several times in one week to collect their wards from the school was not good enough and suggested that the institution remained closed until next term.
They expressed similar views this morning.
“Teachers sick and parents sick so something going on. Right now my daughter’s teacher out sick and there are children that are sick as well.
“I am frustrated because if they know something going on they should have closed the school in the early, not that you got to come to the school, drop off your child and leave work all kind of hours to pick up the children,” one parent told Barbados TODAY.
Another parent added: “I thought the children were going to have the remaining two weeks of the term home due to the environmental problem. Right now I ain’t too sure what really going on.”
Margaret Maughan, the grandmother of one child said she was satisfied that the Ministry of Health said the school environment was safe.
“I wasn’t really frustrated because I was glad that they let out the children so they could get home to safety,” Maughan said.
Lawrence T. Gay’s Principal Jacinta Alexander was unable to give Barbados TODAY a comment.