TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts
A rat infestation has forced the closure of the St Andrew’s Anglican Primary School, says TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts.
According to a press release from the THA Division of Education, Research and Technology (DERTech) on Thursday, the school will be closed for one week with immediate effect. The release said “this is owing to some health and safety concerns which are currently being addressed by the division.” The division said further information will be communicated to parents by the school’s principal until school resumes on February 27.
It added: “DERTech continues to place the health, safety and comfort of all staff and students first, while ensuring that this facility is quickly restored to an environment conducive to the successful delivery of a curriculum.”
In an interview with Newsday on Friday, TT Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA) Tobago Officer Bradon Roberts said the disruption was necessary.
“I trust that the needful will be done – this is a necessary disruption. If proactive measures were put in place, we would not have needed this extent of a closure.”
He added: “It is long overdue for the health officials to step in at that particular school. The teachers there would have refused to work on different occasions over the past few months. I have been at the division raising these concerns, I’ve had communication with the heads at the division as well.”
He said the reason for the closure was a rat infestation. “It (was) detected a couple weeks ago by the staff but there was a concern even before that.”
He said better maintenance measures need to be implemented.
“Several teachers and students (were) observed getting various illnesses throughout the past few weeks, so health and safety is very important in this regard. I know persons would be concerned about the education but until we put systems in place, we will always have these challenges.”
Roberts had previously revealed there was a mould problem at the school.
“Specifically where the mould is concerned, we would have been asking Cariri – I know that they asked Cariri to come in. Cariri would have done an investigation but they have not started any work where the mould is concerned.”
He said the division has been making attempts at having that rectified internally.
“The division has been doing some things – hiring persons to clean the walls and so on, but mould is not something to play with, so that would have always been insufficient.”
He added: “I am not certain about the OSH unit within the division because OSH should have played a greater role. The health officials should have been informed of these issues for some time now.”