Basseterre, St. Kitts (WINN): It was a challenge, but staff and students of Basseterre High survived their first week of relocation to Warner Park, the Old Girls School and a laboratory at the Washington Archibald High School.
Principal Carlene Morton admitted Friday afternoon, that it had been a tough week coordinating and managing classes, but told WINN FM she was extremely proud of her dedicated staff who rose to the occasion, and made it through the week. She indicated that the number of students coming to school was already dwindling, but said this was not unusual for the time of year, when exams are usually held and students only attend if they have a test.
On the first day of classes at the temporary location on Monday, Mrs. Morton estimated that just over half of the 800-plus student body had attended school. At a PTA meeting last weekend, many parents had indicated that in light of the need to relocate classes, they would keep their children at home for the remainder of the term which ends of December 7th.
Classes for the First through Fourth forms are being held in stadium stands, under awnings and in various rooms in the large complex. Sessions for the fifth formers are being kept across the road at the Old Girls School, where several teachers can be found, instructing groups of students at tables scattered around the hall. Some classes are conducted outside, under a large shady tree, which from WINN FM’s observations, the teenagers seem to particularly enjoy.
Mrs. Morton says the Fifth Form classes have been going exceptionally well, as the students are all together in one room, and there is an easy flow from session to session.
Meantime, the Science Department has worked out a schedule for labs that are being conducted at the Washington Archibald High School, which made one of its labs available to the Basseterre High. Mrs. Morton told WINN FM Friday that the lab sessions are also going well.
She said she was profoundly grateful to Sports Director Dave Connor and his staff for their patience and assistance, allowing the students to finish out the school term at the Park.
Classes at the Basseterre High were relocated for the last week and a half of the term pending the results of tests conducted on its campus to determine the cause of a series of symptoms experienced by staff and students over the past year. There have been worries that abandoned labs on the compound may have been the original source of the problem. Tests conducted so far have ruled out radioactivity, and a number of gases. Results for tests for biological agents and respiratory particulates are expected before before the end of the month. Testing for asbestos is yet to be done.
Teachers began a sit-in on November 19th after seeking unsuccessfully to get their concerns about the situation addressed. They announced through the Teachers Union that they would not hold classes until the recommendations of a safety report conducted earlier in the year were implemented and they were assured that the environment on the campus was safe.