No school at Scarborough RC Primary

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A view of the Scarborough RC Primary school on Smithfield Road, Scarborough.

All Tobago schools reopened on Wednesday, with the exception of Scarborough RC Primary School.

Its doors remained locked after a message to parents from president of the school’s PTA Marcus Woods which said the principal and the staff of the Education Division had identified a safety hazard.

In a WhatsApp message, Woods said a contractor was selected and work began, but the magnitude of the repairs meant students could not be allowed into the school until they were completed.

“I do not have a date for the completion. However, it is in the best interest of the students that they stay at home for a few more days and stay safe.”

He added: “I too am disappointed, but we have to put the safety of our children first.”

The principal said, in another chat: “Goodnight Parents. I regret to inform you that there will be No School Tomorrow due to incomplete work at the school. The reopening of our school has been postponed until further notice. Sorry for the late notice.”

A parent speaking on the condition of anonymity told Newsday she was disappointed.

“After two years of home-schooling and online classes, this is ridiculous. I expected better, the Division of Education needs to put better monitoring teams in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen, this is unacceptable.”

Another parent added: “The PTA’s president message first popped up around 9.30pm on Tuesday whilst we were preparing for Wednesday return to class. So you telling me after two whole years, now this? My daughter is extremely disappointed because she was looking forward to going back in the classroom alongside her friends. I don’t know what else.”

Contacted for comment, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said “What we are realising is that because schools were closed for so long – primary schools, that is – when teachers turned up yesterday to prepare their classrooms, they are now seeing issues that they are only now reporting to the Division of Education, because they’re only now going for the first time in however long to their classroom.”

He said there are issues with termite infestation but the division, through the THA, is doing all it can.

“Even schools that we thought would not have had issues, because they’re relatively new schools, like Scarborough RC, we are finding issues popping up. Notwithstanding that those schools are new schools, brand-new built – so we’re working it and we’re all in this together.”

In August 2018, the school was opened with reports that it was OSHA-compliant and easily accessible for the differently abled, the first of its kind in TT. It has three storeys with 27 classrooms to accommodate 750 students, a staff room, a computer room, a cafeteria, sick bay, a library, a chapel and an elevator.