Categorized | National News

Students Affected by Joaquin Remain Out of School

While some children affected by Hurricane Joaquin were able to travel to New Providence to continue their studies, the majority of them are out of school, according to Director of Education Lionel Sands.

Mr. Sands was one of many department heads that gave an update on hurricane relief efforts at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday.

On October 1, Hurricane Joaquin took The Bahamas by storm battering Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.

According to Mr. Sands, there are no schools in San Salvador and Long Island.

“We are meeting with the community to find out when would be the best time to restart the schools and if we could find any building to start the schools because they have the same fear that I have – once they come to Nassau that’s it for the community and we certainly don’t want that to happen,” he said.

The director said that only a handful of children were able to get into schools in New Providence like CH Reeves, Claridge Primary and HO Nash Junior High School.

“The parents came to me sobbing because they don’t want to bring the children there, but they don’t have any other choice. I said to them as soon as we are able to get the schools back to some kind of normalcy if they so wish, we will have the children sent back,” Mr. Sands said.

“But the challenge we have is that the children are out of school.”

Private schools have also taken some children from the Family Islands.

“There have been hands reaching out to us,” Mr. Sands said.

He added that there are also a number of teachers who were transferred from New Providence to teach on those islands and they wish to return to help with relief efforts.

Additionally, some school counselors have also been dispatched to assist with counseling the children.

“Just yesterday, they came to see me and said they wish to go back to help to rebuild what has been broken down by the storm and help to bring some normalcy. The challenge we have is with the teachers in Acklins and Crooked Islands is finding them a place to live. Some of them lost everything especially in Long Island,” he said.

“Tomorrow we are having a meeting with the community in Long Island. We only have a place in South Long Island where we can have school. But it will take some time. What we are looking to find is any place where we can have schooling until the school buildings are repaired.”

Mr. Sands said in Crooked Island, the Department of Education would be able to use some churches to house the schools.

The director said that a private citizen has also volunteered to provide funding for the rebuilding of a school.

“A private citizen in New Providence wants to rebuild one of our schools with no cost to the government. This person has the means to do that. We are also asking each child to provide $1 towards the restoration of the communities that have affected,” Mr. Sands said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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