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Silence from education minister on mould

Nothing to say: education minister Diallo Rabain (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The education minister stayed tight-lipped yesterday over the closure of a middle school because of mould.

Diallo Rabain was sent several questions about TN Tatem Middle School, which was closed on Wednesday. Mr Rabain was asked when pupils and staff would return to the Warwick school and if the school would be safe to attend.

He was also asked about what was being done to tackle mould at the school and what would be done to make sure that it did not return. The minister was also asked whether conditions at the school caused illness in pupils or staff members. But responses to the questions were not received.

Mr Rabain said last night on ZBM that an announcement would be made today on what would be done with the school.

Cole Simons, the shadow education minister, claimed on Wednesday that mould at the school had caused one teacher to leave due to illness.

The One Bermuda Alliance MP added that a replacement who had taken over from the former teacher in January had also been affected by breathing problems. The claims were backed up by a source at the school.

Michael Weeks, the former minister of social development and sport, blamed the former OBA government for the problem.

He said: “The mould issue is a legacy issue from the OBA administration.

“Most alarming is that the recommendations from the OBA’s own 2016 report were never fully implemented by the OBA and that is the cause for the re-emergence of the issues we have now.”

Mr Weeks accused the Opposition of an attempt to “exploit this extremely serious issue for political gain”.

He said that the Progressive Labour Party since it won power in 2017, had started renovation work and carried out tests at the school in February and March “to ensure the building was being worked on in order to be fit for students and staff”.

Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, said on Tuesday that the school would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. Public schools are closed today.

She said the closure came after education officials got a letter from the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association that highlighted “grave concerns about the health of the learning environment”.