Combermere given all clear to re-open

The all-clear has been given for the Combermere School to be re-opened.

The go ahead has come from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, after they conducted a thorough evaluation of the Waterford school.

The two-member team of Industrial Hygiene Team Leader, Gregory Burr and Industrial Hygienist, Leonard Zwack, spent two and a half days evaluating the indoor environmental quality at the secondary school and presented an informal report to the Ministries of Health and Education yesterday.

Burr said based on the team’s findings, there was “no reason why the building can’t be re-occupied”, but he highlighted the need for ongoing maintenance issues to be addressed, some of which he said were long standing in nature.

He noted that at the time of his evaluation, considerable work had already been done at Combermere and his findings were based on the conditions which he saw when he arrived.

The team detected no gas odours at the school, but pointed to the need for continuous maintenance to deal with issues such as the isolated incidents of mould and moisture which were identified and dust from an accumulation of stored unused equipment.

Burr promised the team’s full report would be ready within a month’s time, and an interim report will be forwarded in about one week.

The visit to Barbados by the CDC experts was facilitated by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) at the request of the Ministry of Health.

The school had been temporarily closed in April, after teachers and students complained of  having to work in unhealthy conditions. Ten students fell ill on the first day of the new school term.

Since then, students had been relocated to the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP).

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