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Published 18th January 2017, 3:41pm

Statement by the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs, the Department of Education Services and Sir John A. Cumber Primary School on the social media post regarding possible mould at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School

On Wednesday January 18th, 2017, it was reported over social media that “John A. Cumber Primary has fallen victim to a catastrophic mold issue” and that “The Government has given notice to parents two days ago that the entire building has been condemned and has to be demolished and rebuilt.”

The Ministry of Education, the Department of Education Services (DES) and Sir John A. Cumber Primary School (SJACPS) wish to inform the general public that there is no catastrophic mould issue impacting SJACPS.

In September 2016, a concern was raised regarding mould in the Junior Block of the school. Out of an abundance of caution, DES commissioned testing from the Department of Environmental Health (DEH), and the results indicated that the conditions in the rooms tested were not conducive to the growth of mould. While some mould was found in isolated areas, the requirements for remediation followed the standard procedures as recommended by the DEH. The recommendations were carried out immediately in September 2016.

In addition, neither the Key Stage 2 Block, nor any other building at SJACPS has been condemned or earmarked for demolition. Neither the Ministry of Education, DES nor the School have issued any such statement to parents or the general public.

Since returning from the Christmas break, the school has been in discussion with the Ministry of Education and DES regarding the continual improvements to the quality of the learning environments. Amongst the other work that is on-going, a refurbishment programme for all of the Key Stage 2 Classrooms is underway. This work will involve replacing the floor and ceiling tiles, and repainting the walls. In addition, upgrading and/or replacement of classroom furniture and the development of reading-rich environments are taking place in all classrooms. None of this work is as a result of suspected damp or mould, but is merely part of an on-going programme to improve the quality of the classroom environments. This work will be on-going throughout the year, with the bulk of the work occurring during the Summer Break.

The management of any facility includes carrying out periodic maintenance projects. In order to ensure that student learning is not disrupted, it is often necessary to plan projects during school breaks. This is a normal and long existing feature of running and managing schools. However, whenever an issue is identified that has health and safety implications the school always places the welfare of the students and staff first, and addresses those concerns immediately.

Further, the social media post states that “Parents have been complaining to the Education Dept, the Ministry and Min. Rivers that there is a problem at the school due to the high level of sickness that the children are encountering.” The school is not currently aware of any students off sick with headaches, bleeding noses or allergic type reactions; in addition, the school, with the support of the Ministry and DES, takes into consideration all complaints received by parents.

The Ministry of Education and DES appreciate parental involvement in the schools and encourage parents to continue to work directly with the schools to obtain accurate information whenever concerns arise.