Works begins on bat-infested school

Four months af­ter the Rio Claro AS­JA Pri­ma­ry was shut down be­cause of a bat in­fes­ta­tion, re­me­di­al work has fi­nal­ly start­ed on the di­lap­i­dat­ed school.

In an in­ter­view, PTA pres­i­dent Ve­da Ma­haraj, who led a protest last week, said she was hap­py to see con­trac­tors on site do­ing re­pairs to the roof.

Since Oc­to­ber, pupils have been at­tend­ing class­es at the Rio Claro Pres­by­ter­ian School and the Rio Claro Masjid.

Ma­haraj said she was now look­ing for­ward to the com­ple­tion of work and the re­sump­tion of class­es at the school, adding that the pupils had suf­fered enough,

Last Oc­to­ber, the Oc­cu­pa­tion­al Safe­ty and Health Au­thor­i­ty shut down the school be­cause of the bat in­fes­ta­tion.

The school's roof had col­lapsed in sev­er­al places and had be­come a habi­tat for snakes.

One par­ent, Flo­rence Mo­hammed, said Rio Claro AS­JA was one of the top per­form­ing schools in the re­gion and the stu­dents were be­ing placed at a dis­ad­van­tage.

Mean­while, class­es re­sumed at the Princes Town Pres­by­ter­ian No 1 school fol­low­ing a bush fire which razed the school's fence and school's wa­ter con­nec­tion sys­tem.

Pres­i­dent of the PTA No­la Ramjohn-Karim said on Mon­day, a con­trac­tor di­vert­ed the wa­ter from the tanks to sup­ply the pipes. Main­te­nance staff were able to clean out the class­rooms in prepa­ra­tion for school. Ramjohn-Karim said the main wa­ter line was burnt and WASA of­fi­cials had promised to con­duct re­pairs.

She said the tanks were sup­ply­ing the school yes­ter­day but once the wa­ter runs out they will have to stop class­es. How­ev­er, a WASA of­fi­cial said the line will be fixed and WASA will sup­ply truck-borne wa­ter to sup­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing wa­ter sup­ply.

Princes Town Pres­by­ter­ian No 1 cur­rent­ly ac­com­mo­dates an ad­di­tion­al 500 plus pupils from the Princes Town No 2 school, which was shut down in 2017.

The school's struc­ture at Ed­ward Street was torn down in 2017— a year af­ter the school closed. Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter An­tho­ny Gar­cia in an in­ter­view said the school can­not be re­built im­me­di­ate­ly be­cause the Gov­ern­ment sim­ply did not have the mon­ey to do so. He said once mon­ey be­comes avail­able the school will be re­built.

- by Radhica De Silva. Photo by Kristian De Silva

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