By Shermain Bique-Charles
Online and face-to-face classes at the Ottos Comprehensive School (OCS) were aborted early yesterday, after teachers refused to work because their health and safety concerns were not being addressed in a timely manner.
In a letter to the OCS Principal, Foster Roberts, the educators stated that for “far too long, we have been waiting for relief from several environmental deficiencies that can be resolved once the most appropriate measure is employed”.
One of those deficiencies, they said, was the constant dripping of waste water on the toilet bowls in the male bathroom, which is located on the floor directly beneath the female teachers’ bathroom.
Another concern was that of a leakage in the roof of the Theatre Arts Room and several classrooms that continue to make it difficult for teachers to optimise the teaching learning experience.
The detailed letter also pointed to “difficulties in accessing the recently constructed canopies especially when it is wet”.
Furthermore, the teachers said that the volume of stagnant water outside the Art Room was being exacerbated by the constant rainfall and the presence of a drain for a hand washing station, to name a few, were valid reason why they downed their tools.
“We appreciate the efforts you have made and continue to make to ensure our grievances are effectively addressed”, they told Roberts.
However, yesterday, the OCS staff said they “ran out of patience”.
Meanwhile, Roberts confirmed to Observer that he had in fact received a copy of the letter which outlined the teachers’ concerns.
The principal added that the information was communicated to the Director of Education, Clare Browne, who indicated that the matter will be addressed.
Keeping to his word, Browne instructed that an assessment be conducted with the hopes of rectifying the problem.
However, Roberts said it would take more than just one day to address the teachers’ concerns, but they were apparently not satisfied with that information.
“I did my duty. They brought the letter, I subsequently realised I am not in a position to solve their problem and so I contacted the relevant authorities, immediately, to have the matter addressed,” he said.
Roberts also indicated classes could resume on Monday.
“The plumber has already come and they started the work. Once they continue to work, all things being equal, we should be able to resume school on Monday. It is an unfortunate decision, but it is what it is,” the principal said.
Approximately 60 teachers took part in Friday’s industrial action.