Going back to their classrooms
Students at TN Tatem Middle School went back to their classrooms yesterday after a long break while the school was treated for mould contamination, with the latest inspections showing “significantly lowered and acceptable levels of mould” in the areas that had been treated.
However, not all parents were satisfied, with one telling The Royal Gazette that while her child's allergies had diminished, her daughter continued to react to the contaminants in the school's air.
Another said there had been a “mixed mood” after the return, with some parents “a little disappointed” that not all issues appeared to have been addressed.
Freddie Evans, the Acting Education Commissioner, issued a statement last week saying that tests conducted on February 16 showed the cleared areas posing “no immediate or significant threat to the health, safety and wellbeing of students or staff”.
Maintenance was still under way, and construction for the remaining restricted areas would be conducted outside of regular school hours, Dr Evans said.
But the parent who contacted this newspaper questioned why the cafeteria was closed and said the school's library should have been on the list of areas to be cleaned.
“I remained at the school throughout the day and found dirt on certain surfaces,” she said. “I climbed up and found dirt on top of cabinets. Thorough cleaning should mean thorough cleaning.
She said she was “sick and tired” of majority black public schools falling behind the standards of cleanliness that could be seen at private schools.
“If you send your child to school a few times without any lunch, they will call you and ask what's happening — so why is it when this school is not being fixed properly, you don't even know who the heck to talk to?”
According to a message sent out by Dr Evans on Sunday welcoming staff and students back to their school, which also provided the tests by Island Air Quality, 65 rooms had been “cleaned, cleared, tested and are considered satisfactory" — with the remainder to be inspected this week before opening to staff and students.
“Only one classroom is affected,” Dr Evans added, calling for a collective effort to maintain air quality.
Renovations are to continue during the rest of the school year, he said, but “nothing will impact instructional time”.