Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said repairs on at least three schools on Abaco will be completed by the end of March.
Some schools on the island were among the thousands of buildings severely damaged by Hurricane Dorian in early September.
When asked whether repairs on the schools will be completed in the time for the new school year, Lloyd replied, “New school year is a joke. We’re looking at Central Abaco Primary [School] probably being finished by somewhere around March.
“Certainly, Cooper’s Town [Primary School] by the end of February. S.G. Bootle [High School] around the end of February. We are pushing for that.”
Lloyd said repairs on Patrick Bethel High School will not be completed before September “because of the nature of that school and its damage”.
However, the minister said repairs on the other school are already underway.
“The Cooper’s Town [Primary School], the S.G. Bootle High School — right across the street from each other — are well on the way,” Lloyd told The Nassau Guardian.
“So, that is already established. We’re also beginning within a few days the Central Abaco Primary and we are looking to see if we can secure some temporary buildings so that we can begin classes there while the construction is on the way.”
He said the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction is “taking over” the construction of schools on Grand Bahama, which was also devastated by the Category 5 storm — the strongest on record to hit The Bahamas.
In November, Lloyd said the impact of Dorian will cost the Ministry of Education at least $21 million.
Of that figure, he said, roughly $5 million would be allocated for repairs on Abaco.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the ministry announced that teachers, administrators and support staff in affected areas would be awarded financial assistance, which included a lump sum payment, relocation payments and a hardship allowance.
Two months after Dorian, Lloyd said, the government had spent roughly $2.6 million on relocation payments and salary advances.