Parents angry KPS children were not sent home
SEARCHLIGHT has been informed that since the school reopened on Tuesday, January 3, rats have been seen running about the classrooms located on the ground floor of the building.
During a visit to the school on Wednesday, January 4, a number of pupils from Grades K to 2 were observed congregated outside their classrooms, under the school gallery. The ground floor of the school houses the students in these three grades.
Some pupils were overheard speaking about the presence of rats in the school. However, Deputy Headteacher Samuel Holder refused to comment on the situation.
He informed SEARCHLIGHT that if there were any questions on the matter, we should âspeak to the Ministry of Education.â
Our efforts to speak with an official at the Ministry, however, proved futile.
An official of the Ministry of Health, however, confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT that a team from the Vector Control Unit had been dispatched to the school to investigate a matter concerning rats at the school.
According to the official, the Unitâs assistance was sought on the evening of Tuesday, January 3.
The source said that this is not the first time rats have been sighted on the school compound.
The source also revealed that before the reopening of all schools at the beginning of each term, the schools are usually checked, but for reasons not disclosed by the source, this was not done this term in the case of the Kingstown Preparatory School.
When contacted, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Roger Duncan said he was not aware of the matter, but will investigate.
He, however, noted that if a problem such as a rat infestation exists at any school, âthe Ministry of Education is to inform the Vector Control people and then our people will take the necessary action.â
One parent of a grade three pupil visited SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday and described what she observed when she visited the school, located at Richmond Hill, at midday.
She said while there, she observed a few persons dressed in uniforms of light blue tops and light grey trousers walking around the school compound.
âThere was one woman that was kneeling on the ground and the others were over her looking. She seemed to be attempting to push what looked to me like a piece of thread through a hole and she had a bucket with something that seemed to have a powdery substance in itâ¦â
The parent, who asked not to be identified, said her curiousity was aroused when a few other parents who were present started speaking about the school being infested with rats.
âI am concerned as I have a son in grade 3 and I think where there are rats. Itâs not too clean, so I have a great concern about this situation,â she stated.
The woman, who was clearly upset, said she does not think it was a wise decision for the officials, identified as being from the Vector Control Unit, to carry out their operation while school was in session.
âThere were children while they were doing the operation that were very close to them, and I think that is very dangerous, because the powder I saw, I donât think it is healthyâ¦ no one knows if they had found a rat nest or one or two.â
The mother also expressed concern about leptospirosis, a sometimes fatal disease which can be spread by the urine of infected rats.
âYou cannot work comfortable in a situation where there are hundreds of children. So something needs to be done properly. I think today because they had the call, they just responded hastily and they tried to do the best they can, but it should be done professionally.â
Another parent told SEARCHLIGHT that in his opinion, all the pupils should have been sent home to allow the Vector Control Unit to do their work and to allow for a thorough cleaning of the entire compound.
âAs soon as they realised there was a problem, the students should have been sent home. I am not very happy about this situation,â he said.