School called

Come Today, the Lester Vaughan School will allow fourth and fifth form students to restart in-person classes.

It had been forced into conducting online classes for most of the last month due to ongoing environmental concerns.

The green light for students, teachers and staff to be back on the Cane Garden, St Thomas compound was given by the Ministry of Education yesterday.

“After reviewing the reports and consultation, the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Ministry of the Environment could find no evidence to substantiate the continued closure of the school,” the ministry said in a statement last night.

It noted that a meeting with parents was held last Friday at Queen’s College chaired by Chief Education Officer Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw. Also present were acting Permanent Secretary Wendy Odle and other ministry officials, chairman of the Lester Vaughan board of management Dr Donley Carrington, principal Suzette Holder and environmental expert Ian Weekes.

Weekes read through the comprehensive environmental report conducted at the school recently, and explained the findings to the audience. “The report revealed that there were no emissions at the plant, and all volatile organic compound levels were below the threshold for safety,” the ministry stated.

Safe to reopen

“After analysing the reports for the smoke test and the air quality, followed by a tour of the plant, both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment are satisfied that the plant can be reopened, and pledged to continue working with the Ministry of Education to examine the wider environment outside of the school.”

The ministry added that having been furnished with the results of two independent reports, and having consulted with trade unions, teachers and parents, it was satisfied that the school could be reopened.

“The reopening will allow for in-person teaching, the completion of practical activities and the library facilities during the Easter vacation, so students can continue to prepare for their external examinations,” the statement concluded.

When contacted last night, Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) president Rudy Lovell said he will be convening a meeting this week with teachers there who are BUT members.

When asked if he was satisfied with the decision to resume in-person classes, Lovell said “time will tell”.

He, however, indicated that teachers may not be available.

“It is not mandatory for teachers to return to that environment. I will be holding a meeting this week with members from Lester Vaughan and we will go into further details,” he said.

Last week, Archer-Bradshaw asked for parents and stakeholders involved to be a little more patient, since the ministry wanted to cover all of its bases before students, teachers and staff were invited back to the school. Last Thursday, a ministry team visited the school.

She said the ministry would give consideration to all concerned, as they were not in favour of children returning to school without giving parents and guardians the opportunity to interface with officials from the education, health and environment ministries, while giving Weekes an opportunity to explain the results.

She chided the Parent-Teacher Association and BUT, saying those parties continued to present as if communication had not taken place, especially when they all shared the same position on the matter.

The post School called appeared first on

Leave a Reply