Ministry denies school mould problem

| 18/01/2017 | 32 Comments

(CNS): The education ministry has denied that a West Bay school has been condemned because of mould or that any notices have been sent to parents of children attending Sir John A Cumber Primary School that it will be rebuilt over the summer. Ministry officials dismissed claims posted on social media Wednesday that were circulating among parents with kids at the largest government primary school about mould, stating that there was no “catastrophic mould issue” at the school but that a small amount was found in one classroom last September and dealt with.

A Facebook post on Wednesday urged parents to remove their children from the school as it had been condemned, and stated that government had advised parents in writing that the rebuilding would not take place until the summer. Fearful that the mould was putting children’s health at risk, there was clear panic among parents with children at the school over what the ministry said was ‘fake news’.

CNS had tried to find a copy of the alleged correspondence from government but we were unable to do so.

In a statement released by the education ministry Wednesday afternoon following enquiries by CNS and other members of the media, officials acknowledged that in September a concern was raised regarding mould in the Junior Block of the school.

They said that “out of an abundance of caution”, the Department of Education Services (DES) commissioned testing from the Department of Environmental Health (DEH), and the results indicated that the conditions in the rooms tested were not conducive to the growth of mould.

“While some mould was found in isolated areas, the requirements for remediation followed the standard procedures as recommended by the DEH. The recommendations were carried out immediately in September 2016,” they said, adding that no buildings have ever been “condemned or earmarked for demolition” at the school site and no letters or notification indicating that have ever been sent to parents.

At that time the complaints about mould were raised last year, parents had also complained about other problems and started a petition to encourage government to upgrade the school. Since then, government has made plans to begin a refurbishing project at the aging facility.

Education officials said they have been in discussion with the school regarding improvements to the quality of the learning environments and work continues in all of the Key Stage 2 classrooms

“This work will involve replacing the floor and ceiling tiles, and repainting the walls. In addition, upgrading and/or replacement of classroom furniture and the development of reading-rich environments are taking place in all classrooms,” the ministry said in the statement.

“None of this work is as a result of suspected damp or mould, but is merely part of an ongoing programme to improve the quality of the classroom environments,” the officials claimed. “This work will be ongoing throughout the year, with the bulk of the work occurring during the Summer Break.”

The ministry also denied that it was aware of any health problems or sickness among the student population because of mould.

“The school is not currently aware of any students off sick with headaches, bleeding noses or allergic type reactions,” the ministry said in response to claims made on social media which the posters said had come from parents with children who were sick after attending the school.

“The Ministry of Education and DES appreciate parental involvement in the schools and encourage parents to continue to work directly with the schools to obtain accurate information whenever concerns arise,” the ministry added.

The ministry has planned a media briefing for Thursday afternoon and CNS invites any parents of children at the school to submit their questions and concerns to us so we can put them to the ministry on their behalf.

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    health city has an excellent pulmonologist and radiographer. and most important. the independent…take kids there for checking out???? also they cheap……

    • Anonymous says:

      scaremonger much? This is like a witch hunt on the school. I’m more worried about the people and parents spreading these rumours as if they were truth more than anything else….

      • Tru Dat says:

        Mental health issues are a serious business. One which we are woefully unequipped to deal with. I’d have them all checked out though.

  2. Anonymous says:

    another covet up. i would guess the damage already done to these kids. they need get a ct scan done? not chest x-ray and not at hsa…..

  3. Anonymous says:

    john gray i am hearing has mold? they need check that out…..????

  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry, the Administrator of that page will be stopped when I deal with her! Spreading fake rumors on a school now, along with showing no respect whasoever to people who comment on that page with their own views. If you do not agree with her, she will tear you down and make you look bad as if you do not have common sense. Don’t worry peeps. I soon deal with her!

    • Anonymous says:

      The Page can be reported to Facebook for abusive content….worth a try!

      • Anonymous says:

        I and a lot of brac friends are ashamed the way they go on, it’s complete cray cray

        • Red Shank says:

          She is coming to seek a seat in the LA for the Brac but I beg and implore Brackers to make sure that the only seat she gets is one on the iron shore close to Panama Canal.

  5. michael says:

    not sure how anything can grow in the desert that is Cayman these days….

  6. Anonymous says:

    They don’t care about the dump why would they care about schools?

  7. jay says:

    so…… another school to build?

  8. Anonymous says:

    parents. take kids to overseas hospital to get mold tested now. mold dangerous to health. if they would keep civil servants in old glass house for years knowing it wad full of mold? and yes there are numerous deh reports showing elevated spores in old glass house during occupation….

  9. Anonymous says:

    parents! be careful. you know most things may get covered up….

  10. Anonymous says:

    Can the government not sue the writer of these defamatory posts? They are clearly spreading fake news with no proof and inciting unnecessary upset amongst a lot of parents.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ask the Department of Environmental Health and other independent entity to release all of the indoor air quality tests that have been conducted at the West Bay Primary School.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The silly season has began. Someone trying to make another person look bad. The devil always finds work for idle minds.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ministry denies any type of discrimination or lack of recognition regarding human rights.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Posting the DEH test results would allow those concerned to verify results and make their own factual determination. It’s a concept used elsewhere called “transparency”. Alas, another strike under the heading of leadership issues. If everything didn’t feel like a cover up, people would chill out and trust again.

  15. Anonymous says:

    That Facebook page is all tearing down Caymanians. Weird name for a site that only attacks Caymanians. Shame on them.

    • Freddy says:

      That site tears down from all nations and walks of society regardless of race, creed, color. Not just the Cayman Islands. Social media is tearing down a lot of people and families because they are too over indulged in it. They can”t sleep at nite because they have to constantly be on their cellphones on the site prying into people lives and business. And posting up all that they do/did for the day . ADDICTS they are. Its a mess.

  16. no sah says:

    We need to be very very careful who we let inside our Legislative Assembly, the lineup of ex-drug dealers, ex-cons and criminal minded individuals will destroy this country in 1 year. The I am Caymanian page is promoting someone for political office who has served time in prison, if Cayman brac wants that sort of representative…well…I’m lost for words. And closer to home in GT, has Dr Frank told us who shot him yet? and why? Christ almighty we are in trouble!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Yep and the laugh is that one complains about education department people sending their children to private schools, when that is precisely what she does! I am not sure what their agenda is other than stirring up hate and bile.

  18. So It Go says:

    If the mold doesn’t get them the gunshots will.

  19. Anonymous says:

    That I am Caymanian Facebook page is all about getting attention for the administrator. Real attention hungry with no consideration for accuracy at all. Thank God they are not running for public office.

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