By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Journalist
The official start to the academic year for all public primary and secondary schools has been pushed backed by two weeks. Students will not start classes until September 18.
Noting that mould and equipment damage is affecting a number of public schools, Minister of Education Myron Walwyn said the delay is primarily due to the tropical wave that rocked the territory last Monday.
He said cleanup could have been completed by September 4, which is the original school reopening date.
But the minister explained that there are ‘residual’ issues.
“For instance, the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) has had a history of problems with mould, and we have had students and teachers who have been affected by the mould. Even though the compound would be clean and everything – and if you go back to the campus today you would see they did substantial work, we have to do more remediation and other things after that to make sure that the work environment is suitable for the students and the teachers,” Walwyn further said.
More than 100 computers damaged
He stated that, coupled with the mould issues, is the fact that more than one hundred of the school’s computers were destroyed in the flood last week.
Walwyn added, “Desks and the whole infrastructure of the Arts Department and so forth are basically gone.”
He indicated that the Ivan Dawson Primary School in Cane Garden Bay is also affected.
“Other schools like the one in Cane Garden Bay – there has been a problem with their resource centre and work on the roof over there, and we have to just bite the bullet and get it fixed one time since we know we’re gonna have a very active hurricane season. And then we have to deal with the mould issue there as well. There are mould reports that came in from other schools that we have to pay some attention to and address.”
Walwyn said his ministry also took educators into consideration when it decided on the delay in the school term.
“Our teachers live in the community as well and some of them have been affected very much by the flooding. One principal lost a house entirely and so we have to also be sensitive to those things to make sure that they are mentally ready to go back to school and their families are safe and their lives are back in order,” Walwyn said, adding that time lost will be supplemented.
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