Termites proceed to plague Irwin Main regardless of appeals for assist

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Termites proceed to plague Irwin Main regardless of appeals for assist

BAILEY… it’s a big problem.

MONTEGO BAY, St. James — Irwin Elementary School principal Kingsley Bailey is asking for the assistance of relevant authorities to clean up what he describes as a “serious case of termite infestation” that has been affecting the St. James-based facility for over 10 years two years.

“It’s a big problem because to be honest the whole school campus is infested with termites. It’s like they’re in the ground itself, coming through the concrete. They’re quick to eat the furniture and anything that’s made out of wood,” Bailey told dem Jamaica Observer West.

When this newspaper first drew attention to the school’s plight last March, Bailey explained that the Department of Education had been made aware of the situation and had joint plans to step in and mitigate further damage to the furniture. However, Bailey said this is yet to be done.

That’s what the headmaster said too observer west that staff from other schools across the country have informed him that they too are affected by termite infestations.

“The Department of Education is aware of our situation and it not only affects Irwin Primary School but it is a nationwide issue. There are many more schools infested with termites. We’re not the only school I know of that’s been affected,” Bailey said.

“No action has been taken to address this issue. Yesterday I was in a classroom where termites have completely eaten up one of the desks, leaving the students to write on some damaged desks,” the principal lamented Tuesday afternoon.

Bailey noted that since returning to school on Monday for the Easter semester, he has noticed that some of the furniture that was in good condition before the Christmas break is now also infested with termites. He went on to explain that this means that around 50 percent of school furniture is currently affected by the infestation.

“If you go to the different classes, you can see that the benches and tables are visibly infested with termites. The tops of the tables are completely gone and several benches are badly damaged by termites. The school library is still infested and termites are also in the main office eating the furniture that’s in there,” Bailey said.

He told that observer west that the classrooms used by fourth and sixth grade students are most affected by the infestation. However, without the addition of new furniture, students and teachers have no choice but to continue using their old equipment, Bailey said.

In March, Bailey told this newspaper that he could only accommodate about half of the 820 children enrolled at the school because some classrooms had to be closed due to damaged furniture.

While the Department of Education had announced that all schools should return to the face-to-face teaching modality used prior to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Bailey had communicated this observer west that Irwin Primary School was operating in shifts due to termite infestation.

However, students who were able to go face-to-face to school were no strangers to the termite-infested furniture at their school, Bailey also said.

“There are some desks that are currently being used by our students, although they are termite infested. We have to use them because we don’t have anything else and want our students in the classroom,” the principal said.

If the observer west When visiting the institution at the time, the students were keen to show how badly their desks and benches were damaged. One young boy reported that he swept his classroom several times throughout the day because whenever he moved on his bench, dust particles from the crumbling furniture would surround him.

It has been almost a year since this newspaper highlighted the conditions in which these students are being forced to study, but Bailey said the school has not received any support. The facility is no longer operating on a shift system as all students are expected to attend the school physically, Bailey said.

He told that observer west that he would like to see something done to eradicate the nagging problem before more of the school’s furniture is affected.

“The only thing that can be done is that we have to treat the entire school and then replace the furniture that is currently in use. The termites aren’t physically affecting the kids, but all I know is that the furniture they’re using now isn’t safe because it’s infested,” Bailey argued.

attempts of observer west met with the Director of the Department of Education and Youth, Region Four, Dr. Contacting Michelle Pinnock to comment on the worrying matter was unsuccessful.

A termite-infested desk in a sixth grade classroom at Irwin Primary School.