BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 17th January 2020)– An official from the Ministry of Education has informed this media house that continuous work involving the necessary checks and repairs will be carried at the Washington Archibald High School (WAHS) in light of this week’s electrical problem incident which raised alarms concerning a fire threat issue.
On Wednesday 15th January 2020, school- located at Taylor’s Range- was dismissed during the morning session as students, staff members and other workers evacuated the premises in an emergency response to the situation during the rainy day.
The WAHS-via its social media Facebook page at 11:08am- disclosed in part that “Based on the advice of Public Works, the decision has been made by the Ministry of Education to resume school tomorrow, Thursday, 16 January, 2020. We thank you for your understanding. cooperation and fervent prayers and we will continue to do all within our power to ensure the safety of all.”
Yesterday (Thursday), this media house reached out to the school via telephone for an update and was instructed by the person on the other end to contact the Ministry of Education on the matter.
An individual from that ministry explained the clear was given for school to resume after the relevant work units involved gave feedback keeping safety in mind.
“We’re doing everything we could to make sure that the space is safe for the children.”
Chief Education Officer Darryll Lloyd via a statement on the day of incident informed that the ministry made a decision that day to dismiss school “early in the school, day in order to ensure the safety of all students and other employees of the school when an electrical problem manifested itself.”
He said there was not an actual fire at the school.
“The issue arose when persons at the school experienced the smell of smoke in school spaces. There were also crackling sounds on the second level of the school. While there was no actual fire, school authorities felt it best to the attention of the relevant education officials who immediately determined early dismissal until the specific issue could be identified and addressed.
Lloyd pointed out that as is customary, Public Works Department and SKELEC (St. Kitts Electricity Company) were apprised of the issue and that the Fire Department was also called to the scene as a precautionary measure.
“The ministry continues to do all in its power to ensure that other employees of education institutions in St.Kitts and Nevis are safe and secure. Compliance with the school safety policy is of the utmost importance and is being adhered to for the good of all involved,” he remarked.
At that time of his remarks, the Chief Education Officer said the school would have remained “closed until they are absolutely certain of the safety of the establishment” as parents were advised to stay informed via local media announcement-specifically radio and television as well as the ministry’s social media Facebook page.
Lloyd highlighted that school authorities have been commended by the Ministry for the quick response to threat and continues to advise extreme caution in such circumstances.
Additionally, staff members were applauded for the emergency plan and high degree of professionalism.