Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney. (FP)

Some students at the Lawrence T. Gay Memorial School may soon be shifting to a new location as a result of environmental problems at the Spooner’s Hill, St. Michael school.

This was conveyed to media representatives on Monday, following a tour of the school by Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Kay McConney, and ministry officials.

While noting that to date, the Ministry had found no causes of the odour and discomfort at the facility, she revealed that the environmental department of the Ministry of Health and Wellness was continuing to investigate the surrounding areas to determine the possible cause.

Stating that emphasis was being placed on the north and south eastern sides of the campus, Ms. McConney said the Education Ministry was looking for alternative locations for students and teachers in the eastern block and it was expected that the Class 1s, 2s and 3s would be relocated within a number of days.

“We have started the process of speaking with some churches in the area and a number of churches have expressed an interest in working with us,” reported the Minister.

Minister McConney stressed the Ministry was doing everything it could to resolve the matter, and noted it was imperative that the education team tour the plant to get a first-hand understanding of the environmental issue.

“I think whenever there is a health concern, it has to be treated as important and urgent and that is why the Ministry of Health was here immediately, through their environmental department, and that’s why the Ministry of Education, we’re here now as well, making sure that we give it the level of significance and importance because any health concern that involves our school community, we have to care.”

About 177 students and their teachers were reported to be affected by the environmental issues. 

On Friday, May 13, students and teachers complained about environmental issues and classes were also halted last week in the Carlisle Clarke Block that houses Classes 2, 3 and 4. This followed students and teachers complaining about a pungent gaseous scent that some said caused them headaches, burning eyes and or itchy skin and a burning sensation in the throat.

On Monday, the Class 4 students were relocated to different classrooms on the western side of the school, which the Minister said was not experiencing any discomfort.

Students from the other classes are being taught online until the Education Ministry can find other locations.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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