There have been no classes at the Carapichaima East Secondary School since term started on January 8.
The TT Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA) said teachers are staying away because of health and safety concerns over a pigeon infestation at the school.
Newsday visited the school at M Leod Trace, Freeport yesterday after learning that Education Minister Anthony Garcia was scheduled to meet with TTUTA representatives there.
Garcia confirmed that a meeting was scheduled but said it had to be postponed because of an emergency. However, he said to his knowledge, classes were taking place at the school. But TTUTA head Lynsley Doodhai contradicted this.
“The teachers have invoked the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Act,“ he said. They are coming to the school daily, signing in, assessing the situation to see if any remedial works were done and leaving after confirming that nothing was done about the issues.”
He said teachers have been experiencing respiratory and skin problems because of the infestation.
Doodhai said a team from the Ministry of Health visited the school and filed a report outlining the work to be done.
“Public health officers did an investigation and have issued an advisory that the issues, not limited to the pigeon infestation and droppings, need to be fixed immediately.”
Newsday received a copy of the report, which said blocks B, C, D, E and F of the school were assessed.
The findings were that the roofs and ceilings of these blocks are in a state of disrepair.
The report also noted that the concrete guttering of all buildings throughout the school are overgrown with bush and likely to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The assembly hall ceiling was also in disrepair and pigeons were seen nesting in the rafters. The inspectors also noted that iron railings on corridors and staircases needed repairs.
Doodhai said there is no indication when classes will resume as the meeting was postponed indefinitely.