School closed for the day, while students were sent home --- Minister Jacobs.
CAPE BAY:--- Teachers and students of the Lionel Connor School had to be sent home on Monday morning due to possible gas leak and smoke or fumes in the area. Based on information reaching SMN News at least two teachers fell ill with the fumes while students were also complaining. Due to the high scent and investigation that is ongoing regarding the sulfur dioxide that was found in the area, last week prompted the Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs and Department of Education to immediately close the school and send home all students and teachers. SMN News further learned that the sulfur dioxide is also coming from the nearby laundry and GEBE.
In an invited comment, Minister Jacobs confirmed that the Lionel Connor School had to be closed on Monday morning due to smoke and fumes. The Minister of Education said based on preliminary information provided to her at least one teacher fell ill.
Currently, the fire department and all other stakeholders including the inspectorate are in a meeting discussing the sulfur dioxide that was emanating from GEBE exhaust and the fumes and smoke this morning causing the closure of the school. While this is a matter of health the department of CPS (Health) is not involved in the ongoing situation that involves the lives of young children.
While GEBE is the country’s largest utility plant and is using a large amount of heavy fuel they are not in possession of a hindrance permit, confirmed Minister of VROMI Angel Meyers. When contacted on Monday Meyers said that GEBE has been existing and operating for years without a hindrance permit and to obtain one will be costly for the company. Meyers also said that while the Ministry of VROMI is in charge of environment he believes that the department is involved but he is not fully informed. So far it is not clear if SOL has a hindrance permit since they are dealing with propane gas.
It should be noted that while the fire department was busy conducting the necessary measurements, the fire department does not have the necessary equipment in house to measure the various types of gases in the air, and such an investigation and further research has to be conducted by a specialist to determine all the different types of gases that are polluting Cape Bay area.
On Monday morning the fire department, personnel from the department of Education and the Inspectorate attended the meetings but CPS is still not yet involved even though this is a health related issue.
Minister Jacobs closes Leonard Connor school
Today , October 31st, 2016, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth, and Sports Silveria Jacobs took the decision to close the Leonard Conner School based on the severe symptoms experienced by a number of teachers and pupils.
While the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport did not receive a direct advice from the Fire Department to evacuate or close the school, the Minister took the decision after consultation with the school's management and the Inspectorate.
The Fire Department, in collaboration with the Ministry of VSA, VROMI and ECYS, have been carrying out tests on a daily basis from 5 different points in the Cay Bay area.
The tests are being conducted to measure the level of the various gasses in the air and have been ongoing since the 19th of October as a result of the various complaints received from the Management, staff and parents of the Leonard Connor School.
The results from the various measurements carried out over this period are not high enough to establish a correlation between the measurements captured and the symptoms experienced by the teachers and pupils.
This clearly indicates a need for more in-depth investigation, assessment and monitoring by the ministries responsible for Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment & Infrastructure and Public Health, Social Development and Labor.
The school will resume tomorrow, as further consultations are carried out. This situation has the attention of government and will continue to be closely monitored.