No definite date for govt. schools opening

NO DEFINITE DATE – Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said that it will take an estimated $2 million to return government operated schools that have been damaged, as a result of Hurricane Dorian up to par. The minister was in Grand Bahama two weeks ago to tour schools and assess damages to buildings due to the storm. (PHOTO: JENNEVA RUSSELL)

Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd estimated that it will take $2 million to bring government operated schools that were damaged during Hurricane Dorian up to par. 

Lloyd added that East End, Grand Bahama is not included in that figure.

Hugh Campbell and Maurice Moore Primary Schools, in particular, had major damages, due to record breaking storm surge as a result of the storm and along with other institutions will undergo mold remediation sometime this week, Lloyd told this daily in a telephone interview on Saturday (October 5).

“In Grand Bahama we are looking at that figure ($2 million). At this time, the repairs will be coming close to if not around the $2 million mark and that is everything in Grand Bahama,” Lloyd stated. 

“That does not include East Grand Bahama,” he reiterated.

“A good portion of that is going to be (for) Hugh Campbell Primary School, and I’m not talking about Maurice Moore Primary School because of the great damage. 

“We are working to get schools ready as quickly as possible. As you know we need students to get back, so we are looking tentatively at one week from this coming Monday (October 7) and that would be the October 14 or 15. But that is all depending on us completing two things – the water pressure being acceptable and we believe that it will be.

“The water Salinity (salt content) being acceptable and again, we believe that it will be and also the few repairs that will be completed within this week,” said Lloyd.

He added that schools, including Jack Hayward High School, Maurice Moore Primary and more are ones that are looking to lead in the continuance.

“Just about all of the schools in the Grand Bahama area need some repairs here and there and this is not East Grand Bahama.

“The Hugh Campbell Primary School is the most seriously affected and we don’t believe that it is going to be ready this coming week. Hugh Campbell Primary School is the one that is of the greatest concern to us, because of the extent of the damage as well as East Grand Bahama, which you know is going to be off for a while,” the minister admitted.

However, he noted that ministry officials are of the belief that the remaining schools are in good condition. 

Meanwhile, the minister said, Guidance Counselors are providing ongoing support by embracing displaced students and those of who are experiencing traumatic stress. 

“Yes, there is ongoing psychological support through the Guidance Counselors. University of The Bahamas (UB) has also been helping teachers with their own health care and IsraAID, a non-governmental organization out of Israel, has been conducting workshops for our teachers to assist our students,” Lloyd revealed. 

The Minister of Education said that counselors are especially concerned with the displaced students of Hugh Campbell Primary and Maurice Moore Primary Schools.

“Those students, who are displaced will be accommodated in other schools,” said Lloyd. “Mr. Ivan Butler (District Superintendent of Education for West Grand Bahama) would be able to give you a much more updated assessment of exactly how that would be carried out. 

“However, we are able to accommodate even those students who are displaced out of East Grand Bahama in the schools in the main Grand Bahamas area.” 

This daily contacted Butler, who noted that Hugh Campbell and Maurice Moore Schools are undergoing repair. 

“We have mold remediation going on. All of our schools in the Freeport area will get mold remediation sometime over the next three-to-four days. 

“Once the mold remediation is done, I am confident that we will be very close to announcing that school will be opening. Repairs are ongoing and as repairs are ongoing, that will lead towards our school being open,” Butler said.

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