Minister of State in the Education Ministry Dr Lovell Francis was optimistic on Friday there could be a resumption of classes at Pt Fortin East Secondary School soon.
He told Newsday, "We are liaising with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Agency) to ensure the prohibitions are lifted as quickly as possible." Francis added that the ministry is also working with the Works and Transport Ministry regarding the "structural integrity of buildings" on the compound.
Francis visited the school last Tuesday and again on Tuesday. OSHA officials also visited the school on Tuesday. Francis said then, “We have started making the repairs which can be completed within a week.” He added, “So we are working along with OSHA to have the prohibition notices lifted as quickly as possible.”
Sources said efforts are being made to have prohibitions lifted at the school early next week, so classes could resume there.On Monday, TTUTA president Antonia De Freitas said three prohibition notices had been issued by OSHA regarding different parts of the school.
On Monday last week, members of the parents-teachers association (PTA) staged another protest outside the school’s compound over several infrastructural repairs to be done at the school. After the roll call on Monday, classes were called off for the rest of the day. There have been no classes at the school since then.
On Friday, PTA president Tafara Lewis said the PTA has not received word from the ministry, TTUTA or anyone else about when classes will resume. She disclosed the PTA has spoken with Point Fortin Mayor Kennedy Richards about using a building formerly used by the National Energy Skills Centre to temporarily accommodate students. Lewis said Richards told her that he would have to make inquiries about this and get back to her.
Ministry officials said between last July and August, repair works at the school included refurbishment of staff washrooms; replacement of guttering from Block C to Q; replacement of the ceiling in Blocks P and M and the library; installation of additional electrical outlets in the library and staff room. Last December, there were emergency works that included cleaning and de-sludging of the sewer; replacement of sewer pumps; repair to the control panel; repair/replacement of gas lines and gas taps. The cost of these works was just over $700,000.
Refurbishment of the closed student washrooms; replacement of louvres in Block J and overhaul of the auditorium stage are among the works scheduled to be done at the school.