Head of teachers’ union wants answers on Grazettes saga
As education officials put systems in place to hold classes at the Grazettes Primary School at an alternative location next Monday, the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is still waiting for some answers.
President Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY there are still questions about what chemicals were used in the fogging exercise that caused the lingering odour that has disrupted school since the beginning of the term.
Following a 90-minute meeting with Grazettes Primary teachers and ancillary workers at the Ministry of Education this afternoon, Deputy Chief Education Officer Karen Best said the students and staff would be temporarily relocated.
She did not disclose the locations, however.
“We have identified two places and we are awaiting word . . . Based on the information which has been given to us by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour we should be able to use the school within the next three weeks,” Shepherd told the media.
“We have already carried out the industrial cleaning but there are still some pockets in the school where the odour has been trapped. We are putting all systems in place to have the school relocated on Monday, October 6. The Ministry of Education should get confirmation for the accommodation by tomorrow morning.”
Best acknowledged that the persistent odour from fogging done at the Grazettes, St Michael school before the start of the new school year had made teachers uncomfortable and some even had to take sick leave.
She said a meeting for parents of the Grazettes Primary School students would be held tomorrow at 5 pm to discuss the issue.
The BUT president commended the ministry for its preparations for the new term, saying it had “done everything within its power to have the school ready” and it was only the fogging that had caused the disruption.
But he has called on officials at the Ministry of Health to come clean on what exactly has caused the problem.
“I am told that the fogging staff of the Ministry of Health used about four or five chemicals mixed together, but they are only identifying one chemical – malathion. All they are saying is that they used malathion, which is an insecticide . . . Today, nobody wants to say what other chemical other than malathion was used in the fogging,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“I would like the Ministry of Health to say to the people who are affected what chemicals were used. It cannot be only malathion because farmers use the chemical everyday and some householders use it around their houses,” Shepherd argued.
The BUT head disclosed that the odour was concentrated in the principal’s office as well as the nursery and reception rooms.
“My opinion is that the chemicals used seeped into the furniture,” Shepherd said.
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