Blackman and Gollop Primary School.
Children attending Blackman and Gollop Primary School will have the rest of the week off from classes after cow itch from a nearby area forced its closure again yesterday.
The Ministry of Education, in a brief statement through the Barbados Government Information Service, attributed the closure to an environmental problem in the area and regretted any inconvenience caused to parents.
A source close to the institution said the issue had been ongoing since last month, after the school’s sports day.
“Our issue is that the cow itch is blowing from the plantation next door and on the pasture above. The situation is that we can’t take the children on the pasture because of the condition. As it stands, a lot of classes, the doors and windows are closed because when the breeze picks up, the needles from the cow itch come in,” a teacher told the MIDWEEK NATION.
Before 11 a.m., parents began collecting their charges, for the second straight day, based on the many vehicles lined along the road next to school in Staple Grove, Christ Church.
Jason Callender, a shuttle operator, was there to collect a student.
“I was just told it is an environmental issue, so I’m just doing my job. I also had to come out yesterday and collect the child as well. That was earlier, like around just after nine or so,” he said.
Cederick Blackman, who collected his godchildren, said he “got the same call I got yesterday [Monday]; to pick up the children.
”I suppose after picking them up for cow itch, the itch continues . . . . The school is there and it can’t move in no hurry, so the Government and all the authorities have to get together and try to solve the problem because it is a problem,” he said.
A parent, who declined to give her name, said the area had been debushed, and so she was surprised the issue was ongoing.
Over at Thelma Berry Nursery School, downwind of Blackman and Gollop, a retired teacher, who was there to assist the students, said it was high time officials did something.
“My grandson is in there and he is itching in his back. I am going to wait until just after lunch, and then take him. My experience coming here is you get the itching, and the children are itching all the time, and I would like something done about the situation,” she said.
When contacted, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George said he was in a meeting and could not speak to the issue at the time.
Repeated efforts to reach senior environmental health officer at the Winston Scott Polyclinic, Wayne Russell, were unsuccessful up until press time. (RA)