Categorized | National News

GB Hurricane Affected Schools Reopen Wednesday

Some public schools in Grand Bahama that were affected by Hurricane Dorian will reopen on Wednesday, according to Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd.

Lloyd made the announcement yesterday during a press conference at the Ministry of Education where he said the schools that will reopen were given the necessary approvals from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Environmental Health.

Schools that will reopen on Wednesday are Freeport Primary, Walter Parker Primary, Bartlett High Primary, Lewis Yard Primary, Martin Town Primary, Holmes Rock Primary, West End Primary, Jack Hayward Junior High, Sister Mary Patricia Junior High, Jack Hayward Senior High, St. George’s Senior High, Eight Mile Rock Secondary and Beacon School.   

Lloyd explained that school administrators, support staff and teachers will return to school on Wednesday and students will return on Thursday.

“Staff and students from schools in East Grand Bahama have been reassigned to schools in the Freeport area.  If anyone from those schools is unaware of where he or she has been posted, please contact the District Education Office for details,” Lloyd said.

“Works are continuing at the Hugh Campbell Primary School, Genesis Academy, Maurice Moore and the Haven School.”

Lloyd also announced that Hugh Campbell and Maurice Moore Primary are expected to reopen on October 21 and both staff and students would be expected to report to school on that day. 

“The district superintendent will provide an update on both of these schools, as soon as he is able to do so, and we advise the public to listen carefully for his announcements in this regard,” he said.

“I wish to reiterate that every school that we have scheduled for reopening is safe for occupancy.

I have been informed that donors have ensured all of our schools will be adequately supplied with bottled water, so that all of our students will have access to safe drinking water. Please note that some repair works will continue on various campuses. However, these necessary works will not interfere with nor compromise the health and safely of anyone, nor will they in any way negatively impact daily operations.” 

Lloyd also assured that the Ministry of Education will dispatch mental health professionals to enable and support the mental and emotional wellbeing of students and staff. 

“A team of psychologists and counsellors led by our Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and Guidance and Counselling Unit will visit Grand Bahama during this week. They will conduct extensive, intensive and ongoing therapeutic sessions with various groups. Further details will be communicated via the District Education Office,” the minister of education said.

Following the destruction left by Hurricane Dorian, Lloyd noted that the road to reopening schools in Grand Bahama was littered with many obstacles 

“First, public utilities were compromised significantly. Amidst the destruction, there was no electricity, communication networks were fragile and the water supply was contaminated. Then there was the need to conduct proper assessments to determine the scope and extent of repairs. This included, but was not limited to a massive cleanup of the affected schools, which involved, tearing out damaged walls and ceilings, carting away debris and affecting extensive mould remediation work,” Lloyd said.

“Many came together to mobilize an impressive effort, particularly given the circumstances. I am pleased to report that for the most part, public utilities have also been restored to acceptable levels. Where there are still challenges, for example with potable water, alternative systems are being implemented with the provision of sufficient drinking water to all campuses that need them.”

With regards to the provision of education in Abaco, Lloyd expressed that the Ministry of Education is pleased with the self-help efforts which permitted the unofficial opening of schools on the island.

“Students are receiving instruction from teachers and volunteers in the public schools at Crossing Rocks, Cherokee Sound, Sandy Point, Moore’s Island, Fox Town and Green Turtle Cay,” he said.

“It is planned that teachers and students living in the Cooper’s Town area will meet at a site to be determined sometime this week. In total, we expect that in excess of 400 students will be receiving instruction by the end of this week.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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