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Secretaries Answers to Questions


56. MR. KELVON MORRIS (Minority Leader) asked the Secretary of Education, Research and Technology the following question:

“Can the Secretary explain the circumstances surrounding the extended closure of the St. Andrews Anglican School?”

     The health and safety of our students and teachers are of paramount importance to the Division of Education, Research and Technology, and as such, it is imperative that all is done to preserve same.

     The St. Andrews Anglican Primary School is one of the State assisted schools located in Calder Hall, that in recent weeks was closed by the Public Health Department. An infestation of rodents was discovered and through intervention of the Public Health Unit, measures were put in place to address

the issues identified.

     The design of the building, housekeeping practices and conditions of adjacent lots contributed to rodents establishing a colony at the facility. Surveillance of adjacent premises, including the Scarborough Methodist Primary School, revealed no infestation, and as such, maintenance operations are in effect.

     The St. Andrews Anglican Primary School was ordered closed on Thursday, February 16th, 2023 by the Public Health Services Department of the Tobago House of Assembly, for seven (7) days initially. This closure was as a result of a visit to the school by the Rodent Evaluator, Mr. Sheldon Collette and Health Control Officer, Ms. Elaine Cipriani, who indicated that the school was infested by rodents, which placed the health and safety of staff and students at risk.

On Wednesday, February 22nd 2023, Ms. Deborah George- Carmichael, OSM Inspector 1, visited the St. Andrews Anglican School and

conducted an inspection of the premises.

     On Thursday, February 23rd 2023, Mrs.   George-Carmichael, issued a Prohibition Notice pursuant to Section 74 (1) of   the Occupational Safety and Health Act Chapter 88:08. The prohibition notice   prevented the school from functioning until all requirements of the notice   were fulfilled and a re­inspection of the school was done by the OSH   Inspector 1.

     Preventative measures after the infestation, were   determined by the Division and the actions taken were dated. I am going to go   to the last set of actions. There are several actions; over thirty (30)   actions. I am going to go on the last set of actions.

  • On the 29th March 2023, standard 5 students having been relocated to the John Dial multi-purpose facility, wrote the SEA exams without incident;

  • On April, 04th, 2023, sanitation at the school begun;

  • On April, 10th, 2023, sanitation at the school was completed;

  • On April 12th, 2023, prohibition notice by Public Health was lifted; and

  • On April 17th,  2023, school reopened and regular classes resumed at the St. Andrews Anglican.

     The Minority Leader is free to have the report. I have it here. A copy can be made available to him.

    Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer.

Madam, Presiding Officer, “Can the Secretary indicate if there was any correspondent coming from the school with respect to this issue, and what was the date of that correspondent?”

Thank you, Madam Presiding Officer.

The Division of Education, after receiving a call from the principal, visited the St. Andrews Anglican School on February 14th, 2023, and met with the vice principal and staff on issues of refusal to work and received documentation on the issues with the rats or rodents.

  • On February 14th, 2023, the Schools Supervisor III and the Administrator, also received those reports; and

  • On February 15th, 2023, they had arrangements started to have public health visit the school.

So, that is the correspondence.

“Can the Secretary indicate whether there were any previous correspondence prior to those referred to on the 14lh? Were there any communication between the school and the Division with respect to possible rodents, etcetera?”

Madam Presiding Officer, I am uncertain at this time. That question was not on the Order Paper, and so I cannot furnish the Minority Leader with that response.

     What I know is, that this is not the first time the school has been infested with rodents as was told to me by the principal.

18th Plenary Sitting Tobago House of Assembly 2021 - 2025 Session


25 May 2023
Supplemental question to the main question :
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