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Wilkie Cumberbatch school closed

Wilkie Cumberbatch school closed
Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School (Picture by Shanice King)

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The Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School at Pinelands, St Michael, will remain closed for the rest of the week, says Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw.

In a media release on Tuesday night, Bradshaw said the school, which “experienced significant water damage”, was also identified for major upgrades going forward.

Last Thursday, there was flooding in some sections of the school and there was a problem with plaster falling from the ceiling.

“Regrettably, the rain weakened the plant’s already compromised structure and we were forced to close the school and transition to online classes,” Bradshaw said.

She noted the school was identified for a full rebuild back in 2012, but the funding never materialised under the last administration. Instead, minor repairs were done while ignoring the major issues affecting the plant.

“Since coming to office, we have been focusing on conducting the assessments and preparing costs for the works which need to be done with respect to a number of these major projects. Wilkie Cumberbatch was therefore included among the seven schools which will now receive electrical upgrades in December of this year and substantial works at the schools were to be rolled out in 2021 during the domestic summer programme as it was clear that the neglect of the school was reaching a critical juncture,” Bradshaw said.

During the rest of the week, more assessments will be conducted at the school and arrangements will be put in place to relocate students and staff – if necessary – to ensure their safety, the Minister added.

Bradshaw said the prefab buildings on the compound did not suffer major damage, but the administrative block, which houses the staff room and principal’s office as well as some classrooms in the main block were affected by the weather.

She said parents would be kept updated and apologised for the inconvenience.

Last week, Barbados Union of Teachers president, Pedro Shepherd, who is a teacher at the school, said they were not satisfied with the work being done during the summer repairs programme.

Bradshaw hit back on Sunday night from the platform during the Barbados Labour Party’s campaign meeting in Charles Rowe Bridge, St George, saying Shepherd, who is also deputy general secretary of the Democratic Labour Party – which formed the last administration – was only telling half of the story with respect to maintenance of the school plants.  (SAT/PR)