Deprived of learning for weeks, CH Reeves students return to class today

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Having missed classes for two weeks before school officially closed for the Christmas break, students and teachers of the C.H. Reeves Junior High School are expected to return to classes today, Minister of Education Jeffery Lloyd confirmed on Sunday.

The C.H. Reeves Junior High School on Robinson Road was plagued with mold and rat infestation problem since the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Teachers at the school led sit-ins on more than one occasion, to express their concern about the mold and other issues which made teaching hazardous.

The Bahamas Union of Teachers also lead a strike vote and later received a strike certificate late last year, with the hope of having their concerns at the Junior High School addressed.

Despite repeated threats, that issued strike certificate was never used by the Union and yesterday, Lloyd assured that classes will begin today shortly after assembly ends at 9:15 a.m.

“Today is Sunday and I had a walkabout [of the school’s campus]. I wanted to go and see for myself what exactly is going on at CH Reeves,” Lloyd said.
The Education Minister said the services of the Frank Hanna Cleaning Company was engaged to carry out an extensive “scrub down” of the entire school and 13 new classrooms were also built and are ready to be occupied.

“There were a number of classrooms that were of concern to the teachers, which have been specifically addressed; but in addition to those [classrooms] and all the others, this school is ready,” Lloyd assured.

“There was one classroom, according to the report, that had elevated mold in the air. That particular classroom as well as all others will be again tested after the scrub down, to ensure that we are safe for human habitation, but it’s no problem,” Lloyd said.

“We have been in constant communication with the union and they are all on board. We are making sure that whatever is required is done to make sure that students and teachers return.”

Lloyd said students at CH Reeves have been deprived of several weeks of learning and he is hoping that students can get back on track when the new term begins today.

“We only have 180 days [of teaching] according to law. For every day that you are not in school, you are challenging the completion of the curriculum and this deprives our students of an opportunity for continued advancement, and an opportunity to pass their exams, whether it is BJC or BGCSE, and to advance to the next grade. We are happy that our teachers are committed and they are ready to go.

Lloyd also revealed yesterday that the A.F. Adderley Junior High School, which was also in need of repairs, is also ready for occupancy today as the Ministry has received its occupancy certificate.