Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson has requested that teachers and students at C.H. Reeves Junior High School be tested for tuberculosis (TB) amid two more suspected cases of the infectious disease at the school.
But when contacted, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said he has received no official confirmation of cases of TB at C.H Reeves.
The minister could not say whether education or health officials were actively investigating.
In an interview with The Nassau Guardian, Wilson advised that a parent of siblings at the junior high school was contacted yesterday morning after officials suspected the pair had TB.
“We have asked for all of the teachers and the students to be given a test to ensure that if they test positive for exposure they can get treatment,” Wilson said.
Wilson said despite a responsive and meticulous approach by education and public health officials, there is an “outbreak, and I think there is a need for concern”.
Ten confirmed cases of tuberculosis were discovered at R.M. Bailey Senior High School this week.
A total of 110 staff and teachers were screened at the school.
Screening of students continued on Wednesday.
Addressing the TB outbreak at R.M. Bailey, Wilson said the union has been
kept abreast of developments.
“I’ve been communicating with both ministers,” she said.
“The eight teachers and students met with doctors this morning.
“The doctor would have advised them as to how treatment would go forward.
“The school has been sanitized by a private firm.
“The public health persons from environmental health also followed up.
“Officials were awaiting the all-clear.
“Both the minister of education and health, they were communicating straight through.
“We had open dialogue and we have been kept informed.”
When asked whether she believes the matter has been somewhat downplayed, Wilson indicated that the close communication with education and health officials and their responsiveness has been transparent.
“Public health has been very responsive and once I made contact with the minister of education, they sent out a press release and sent out a team of at least six doctors at R.M. Bailey.
“We were able to use it as a teachable moment as they were able to educate teachers.”
She continued, “Once I contacted the minister of education to inform him of what I knew; while I was calling him he was calling me at the same time.
“And I missed a call from Dr. Duane Sands (minister of health), so they communicated on a school level as to how it would operate at the school level.
“Dr. Sands walked me through the testing process; how long it would take and if they tested positive what the follow ups would be.”
There have been more than 100 confirmed cases on Eleuthera, though it remains unclear if it has reached schools there.
Following the closure of R.M. Bailey, Lloyd said there is no need to initiate a concern or an alarm “about a particular matter that is an isolated circumstance”.
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