Situation at KGS a result of misunderstanding
The condition of the Kingstown Government School (KGS) on the first day of school is the result of a misunderstanding.
Some parents of pupils attending the school contacted SEARCHLIGHT on Monday to share their dissatisfaction with the state of the school. They spoke of dirty bathrooms; spoiled and rotting food; and no electricity in the tuck shop; garbage; and ongoing construction at the primary school located at Stoney Ground.
When SEARCHLIGHT visited the school on Monday, Myccle Burke, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Senator Deborah Charles were on site to assess the situation.
Burke said that the ministry was looking into the matter and will take the necessary steps to address the situation. It was later decided that the school would close at midday on Monday.
Principal Thedica Commissiong-Jones, in an interview yesterday, said that the school reopened the next day and things have since settled down. She said what happened was as a result of a misunderstanding.
Commissiong-Jones said that she spoke with the cleaner on Monday, who told her “that somebody from BRAGSA told her that all the children are going to be housed down here,” referring to the Kingstown Anglican School annex behind Victoria Park.
Currently, the KGS is undergoing major renovation under the Regional Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, which is funded by the World Bank.
Under this project, the school is being upgraded to be used as an emergency shelter. Work is being carried out on the section of the school which originally housed Grades 4,5 and 6.
As a result, those grades were transferred to the part of the school usually designated to Grades K, 1, 2 and 3 and those junior grades were relocated to the Anglican school annex.
“That’s where they would be staying until the full works have been completed. They are building new bathroom facilities and they are replacing fancy blocks with louvres. What they are really doing — people are getting confused — what they are really doing is upgrading to an emergency shelter. It’s not so much like what they are doing at Calliaqua and so on, it’s not an extension,” the principal said.
Commissiong-Jones said that she spent most of the weekend before school opened between the two locations and when she realised that bathrooms were untidy on Monday, she left cleaning supplies at the school. She also said that she spoke with the cleaner, who later cleaned the facilities.
Teachers also confirmed that the cleaner does excellent work and has kept the facilities clean since the reopening of school.
St Clair ‘Jimmy’ Prince, the minister of education visited the school on Tuesday. He said that he was assured that everything was settled and everyone is okay.
In relation to the ongoing construction, which has a timeline of one year, Prince noted that the site is completely cordoned off from the students and contractors have also assured that the parents’ concerns of dust affecting students with asthma is under control.
It is also reported that Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves visited both locations of the school on Wednesday to ensure that things were okay and he arranged for the classrooms at Stoney Ground to receive fans to help relieve some of the heat.