Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 25, 2014 (SKNIS): A two member team from the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) conducted a fact finding mission at the Basseterre High School (BHS) earlier this week to assess further plans to increase the safety of the school.
The team’s visit consisted of a ‘walk through’ of both campuses, interviews with staff and students of the school and a meeting with Government officials and other stakeholders.
CARIRI praised the Ministry of Education for the extensive work which was carried out on the school such as the replacement of ceilings and roof, refurbishment of laboratories, cleaning and modernization of the sewage system, removal of mold and water damaged material, cleaning and painting of the walls and the replacement of furniture.
To complete the recommendations made, the Ministry is preparing to install an extractor fan and a fume hood in the Chemistry lab. As indicated by CARIRI, the absence of these items is of no immediate threat as no chemicals have been mixed or used in the newly refurbished lab.
It was suggested however, that efforts should be made to put in place a chemical hygiene plan, and a housekeeping and maintenance plan for the school.
It was also recommended that some significant remediation work be done in certain areas of the school including cleaning of the area underneath the stage in the auditorium and the cleaning or replacement of the large drapes.
The CARIRI team noted that after the extensive renovations had been made there should have been a reduction in the symptoms being experienced by staff and students. However, observations from in and around the school compound indicate that there may be other factors which can contribute to the symptoms that are still being reported.
While on site the team took note of additional changes that are needed to be made in order to ascertain the cause of the complaints. It will conduct testing on other parts of the campus which will include an evaluation of the underground drainage and sewage system.
The Ministry is expected to receive an official report from CARIRI in ten days’ time but during this time the Ministry will contact other research institutes to conduct tests outside the purview of CARIRI.
In the interest of the health and safety of the staff and students of the Basseterre High School, the Ministry of Education stands ready to address any issues that are revealed from any further testing by CARIRI or other similar agencies.