BVI News

Compromised infrastructures linked to mould in schools

Dr Wheatley

While attributing the growing mould issue in local schools to compromised infrastructures, Education Minister Dr Natalio Wheatley has said his ministry is aggressively combating the issue and will be conducting regular maintenance throughout all infected schools.

Dr Wheatley’s statement comes after a teacher from the mould-infested Ivan Dawson Primary School took to social media to express her discontent with the ministry’s effort to tackle the issue, which she believes contributed to her present and previous hospitalisations over the years.

Responding to questions from BVI News late Monday, Dr Wheatley said: “It must be noted that school has been closed since early this year. Any question about that school making anyone sick recently, I would not be aware of that but just to say the school has been closed for months upon months.”

He added: “Despite any announcements which may have been made generally across schools, we won’t open a particular school if the conditions are not satisfactory. That is an indication of the level of care that we take when it comes to our employees. Especially Ivan Dawson Primary School in Cane Garden Bay, we’ve decided not to open that school until the issues there are rectified, and other schools will follow.”

Cleaning ongoing prior to FB post

Dr Wheatleysaid his ministry has been actively working to rectify the mould issue across schools and believes it is not a one-time fix, but an issue that would need consistent maintenance.

“Even before any Facebook post, we have been assessing the schools for work that needs to be done as it pertains to mould and other things. That work is ongoing and we take the safety of our employees in the Ministry of Education very seriously and I have asked that any situation in any school that is a potential threat to health be brought to my attention so we can address it quickly,” he said.

“What we have asked for is enough resources not just to do cleanings but to do regular maintenance. So it is a constant effort to make sure that the schools stay free of mould or anything that threatens the health of employees or students or our administrators. We are going to systematically ensure that the schools are in a state that is acceptable as it pertains to protecting the health of the employees, the students and the administrators,” he explained.

Infrastructure linked to mould development

The education minister further said the mould development is linked to the compromised infrastructure of the affected schools which must be rectified.

He said: “Some of the schools have some infrastructural challenges where, based on how the schools were constructed, water is getting inside the schools, and persons know that having moisture would cause mould. So even as we have cleaned schools in the past, when the water gets into the schools, it can cause mould.”

“So we would have to do ongoing cleanings, but we have to fix some of the root problems which have to do with perhaps the issues with the roof, etcetera. So that work is ongoing, I have the support of the Minister of Finance to be able to get whatever additional funds necessary to do the work to fix the schools,” he stated.

At the time of the interview, information on the total number of affected schools across the territory was not available.


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  1. Roll eyes says:

    School maintenance has to be an ongoing process. Mold has a lot to do with the environment in which the buildings are located as well therefore mold remediation should be happening from time to time. Schools have been closed for 8 months now. What was the government doing all this time? Not even the bush in the school yards were being cut let alone any work on structures or attempts to deal with mold.

    Like 9
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    • Consultant says:

      Mold grows on practically anything but NOT without water. Fix leaks, roofs, make sure a/c pans drain properly, inspect for water damage, standing water. It’s not rocket science, but does require preventive building maintenance, a concept perhaps foreign to these shores. Take advantage of empty schools/buildings to fix these kinds of problems so that they don’t become the cause for not re-opening.

  2. Concerned parent says:

    And while you are on that Mr. Minister,is the Clarence Thomas Building ready for students and teachers?
    In talking with my son, he pointed out to me that there is only one rest room with one toilet and one urinal for all those boys there. He says they have to wait in line to use the restroom sometimes.
    I hope with covid around something has been done to address the issue. Nowhere does a contagious disease spread like schools.
    Social distancing and proper hygiene are key in stopping this virus.
    Honourable minister, please don’t put our children and staff at risk because of politics.

    Like 7
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  3. Mr. Green says:

    Look, you continue to select “friends”, possible voters, instead of compedent builders to do these projects of building and repairing Government Buildings. Hold these contractors responsible for their bad construction ways. Make them do the repairs free of charge. If they won’t or can’t, NEVER give them another constuction job even if they are your brother. This country never seems to have the means to oversee the original construction, but always find the time, more dumb contractors and money to redo the job many times.


    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  4. Disgusting says:

    Why do these people even comment? They obviously do not care one bit about the schools and the future of the BVI and each of its people. Well done in getting rid of every last competent experienced professional from the RDA. Pretty obvious why that was more important than having new schools built.

  5. Listen says:

    This teacher may have gotten sick now from mold yes but this teacher was getting sick since… There is a lot more to this story than you are made aware of

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