Barbudan teachers, students return to the classroom

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Students and teachers on Barbuda returned to the classroom on Monday, and are functioning despite a few challenges.
A complement of 30 primary school students, 28 from the secondary educational plant and nine teachers were present when the doors of the Sir McChesney George Secondary School re-opened for the first time since the passage of Hurricane Irma last September.
After a re-registration process on Monday, official lessons were started on Tuesday.
John Mussington, principal of the Sir McChesney George Secondary, told OBSERVER media yesterday that the first order of business was to set up the various classes and mobilise the teaching staff, in terms of who would be responsible for a particular class.
He, however, said there are a number of challenges with the process.
“It is not all smooth sailing, because one of the critical things is to have water available. Luckily, the school is self-contained with regards to water. We do have a cistern that provides all of our needs. The issue is that we do not have any electricity at the moment to pump the water,” Mussington
He explained that while they await the installation of a generator, they are relying on the use of a gravity feed system which is in place in one of the bathrooms at the secondary school.
As it relates to the physical conditions at the secondary school plant, the principal said the main building was slightly damaged, in terms of the roof, but this was repaired in December 2017.
The only major issue is the perimeter fence which was blown down during the Category 5 hurricane, giving livestock free access to the school’s compound.
“Before we opened, parents and cleaners were actually working to clean the area before so that we could have opened. The cleaning process will continue,” Mussington said.
He also added that as more students and their parents return to Barbuda, a shift system will have to be introduced.
Last week, an education official said they were considering this option while they await the repairs to the Holy Trinity Primary school building.
When he was asked about the status of repairs to the Holy Trinity Primary School, Mussington suggested that the question should be directed to education authorities.
When Irma destroyed Barbuda in September, Barbudan students were relocated and enrolled in schools in Antigua.   
A few of them have since returned home.

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