Two primary schools that were closed last week over unrelated issues reopened yesterday, but the concerns that forced the closures lingered.
At C.W. Sawyer Primary School — which was closed last Thursday and Friday over reported mold and structural issues — some teachers and students wore surgical masks in an effort to protect against what some claimed were strong chemicals resulting from the deep cleaning that took place after the complaints were raised.
One teacher claimed two colleagues had to seek medical attention as a result of the strong smell.
Some parents returned early to pick up their children after learning about the situation. Two parents told The Nassau Guardian that it was difficult to breathe in the classrooms.
Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson said the union had not yet received the results of tests to determine whether mold indeed exists at the Graham Drive school.
She said the classes have been cleaned, ceiling tiles have been replaced and a damaged staircase has been braced.
Some students were reportedly taught outside as a result of the strong smell inside the classrooms.
At Sybil Strachan Primary School, formerly known as Carmichael Primary, classes were back in session after the school was closed on Friday due to a scabies outbreak.
The infected students were identified and treated, Wilson told reporters.
However, she noted that those students who returned to school without a card deeming them medically cleared were sent home.
Janitorial staff continued to sanitize classrooms and teachers were being tested in order to reduce the chances of another outbreak.
But Wilson said there were very few children at school yesterday. Apparently, some parents were not taking any chances.
Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said Sunday the Ministry of Works and the Ministry of Education are going to all public schools in order to address any outstanding issues to prevent further closures.
“We are in that process right now along with the principals and the unions…” Lloyd said.
“Number two, there are certain critical areas in some schools that need immediate address. We cannot wait, we have to deal with them right now.
“…We are looking at every school because we don’t want what is happening now to interfere with the operation of school.”
But Wilson said these evaluations should have taken place last summer.
She pleaded with the minister to include the union in these evaluations in order for efforts to be more effective.