THE Point Fortin East Secondary School parent teachers association (PTA) is concerned that repairs at the school have not been completed. In a statement, the PTA said the repairs were supposed to be done over the Christmas holidays last month but nothing has happened. The PTA warned that if steps were not taken by Monday, "we will have no choice but to shut down the school."
The work to be done included repair of the ceiling along the corridor and the classrooms on Block D; repair and re-commissioning of the gas system in the science labs, and demolition of Block E. The PTA added that Block E is a condemned building which was identified for demolition since 2007.
When school resumed on Tuesday, the PTA said, "None of the items listed above were completed. The PTA said students cannot complete their school-based assessments because they cannot do their labs. They said the condemned building poses a serious safety and health hazard as "it can be accessed by the students and it is a haven for rodents."
The PTA said the missing and falling ceiling on Block D also poses a safety hazard to students and teachers. "The classrooms are also extremely hot, but due to the faulty electrical system it is not advisable to plug in fans in most of the classrooms."
While the school marks its 60th anniversary this month and its students are performing well, academically and in extracurricular activities, the PTA said it is grossly unfair to ask students and teachers to continue to operate under the existing conditions at the school.
TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas said the union will have to assess the situation if parents keep their children away from school. She said just as parents must ensure the safety of their children at school, TTUTA has a similar responsibility to its teachers.
While she agreed with Education Minister Anthony Garcia about many schools in TT being over 50 years old, De Freitas said infrastructural problems were the result of neglect over the years. "We need to move away from that in 2020," she said. De Freitas said TTUTA continues to work with the Education Ministry and other stakeholders to ensure a safe, teaching and learning environment for the nation's children.
Ministry officials said a report from its repairs unit on Thursday showed several areas of work were completed at the school during the Christmas vacation. These included ceiling work on the library and Block M; guttering replacement from Blocks C to Q; electrical work on the staffroom and refurbishment of the staff washroom.
Officials said there are additional works planned for the next repair programme but should there be any emergency situation that threatens the operation of the school, it will be dealt with immediately.