~ WITU President in solidarity with teachers ~
CAY BAY—Early Tuesday morning, teachers at the Leonald Conner School fed up with the health hazard at the campus decided not to open their classrooms for pupils to attend classes.
President of the Windward Island Teachers Union (WITU) Claire Elshot and teachers went into a meeting with school management, Director of Public Education Glenda Davis Holiday and Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs. The minister explained in the meeting that she is dealing with the situation and is working with the Health Department and the department of education to place AC’s in each classroom to limit any exposure.
The minister reiterated her statement that, “this situation clearly indicated the need for a more in-depth investigation, assessment and monitoring by the VROMI and VSA Ministries.”
Pupils were seen sitting outside the classrooms on Tuesday morning while parents came to pick them up to bring them back home. After meeting with the minister, teachers continued discussions with their union and decided to not go back to work until they power-wash the school and give each pupil a mouth cap.
Elshot said that the teachers have the union’s full support and it is time for something to be done at the school, as it is an occupational health and safety issue. Teachers have decided not to continue working until the enough mouth caps are delivered and the school is power-washed.
Minister Jacobs informed this newspaper that she will be meeting with the parents of the school this week to give an update on the situation and hopes to get the issue resolved soon.
The school was evacuated on Monday morning because of a substance suspected to be sulphur dioxide in the air at the school. One teacher fainted just before 9:00am.
Sulphur dioxide is a toxic gas with a pungent, irritating smell. It also affects human health when it is inhaled. It irritates the nose, throat, and airways, causing coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or a tight feeling around the chest.