Teachers outside: ‘Unsafe environment’ says company after smoke tests Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

A section of the teaching staff at Lester Vaughan School in Cane Garden, St Thomas, is off the job today because they have received the report from the cleaner hired to conduct smoking tests at the school over the week.

Teachers are outside the compound today, Monday, February 19, 2024, except for Year Heads mainly. Students were in the hall with the Heads this morning when school began.  

When asked why they are refusing to return to classes, staff said that they are not comfortable with the findings after the two days of smoke testing.

The company reported, “Please note that with all of these breaches, incomplete testing, and incomplete remediation, I believe it would be unconscionable to expect staff and students to be in this unsafe environment, especially after being made scientifically aware of the unhealthy situation. I find this situation very scary.”

From the reports, one conducted on February 17, and the other on February 18, the recommendation was to stay off the compound until more steps are taken to rectify the odor issue pervading the environs. The report also stressed that the remedial work to date is incomplete.

Shared anonymously with Loop News, the Smoke Testing conducted on Day 1 on Saturday, February 17, from 10am to 3pm saw smoke testing through the manhole by the large gas bottle behind the canteen toilet. The report said it connects to the manholes, grease traps, and storm water soak-aways from roof drains, behind the canteen, Home Economics rooms, auditorium, and the Agricultural Science Lab, and they all go to the well next to the Agri Lab.

The company flagged “that with so many drains, a well, and a septic tank, that it is dangerous to park in that area.”

On Smoke Testing Day 2, the tests began at 1pm, and after continuing to conduct the series of smoke testing, observers noted smoke escaping from almost all of the manholes with smoke actually “billowing” out the boys bathroom opposite F13.

The report echoed the sentiment from the Board of Management of Lester Vaughan School that the silicone seals need to be redone because smoke escaped through most manholes at the silicone points. The project manager shared that grease sealing of the identified breaches began but not completed.