The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is pressing for a resolution to the environmental issues plaguing the Lawrence T. Gay Memorial Primary School for almost a decade.

On Monday members of the union’s executive met with several of the school’s teachers during lunchtime at the Spooner’s Hill campus.

When a Barbados TODAY team arrived at the school, teachers and union delegates were huddled in discussion on the impact of the odour on staff and students based on the Carlisle Clarke Block.

Teachers expressed frustration and pleaded for something to be finally done about the issue.

“Teachers are frustrated. They really want to do their job. They want to deliver instruction but they want to do so in a safe and wholesome environment. But the majority of the teachers at the L T. Gay school are still experiencing this odour,” said BUT president Rudy Lovell.

“This is a genuine issue. I visited this school either at the beginning of October or the end of September and I experienced the odour and I felt a burning in my throat. So I can say for sure that is a real issue.”

Lovell said the staffers were trying to unanimously agree to what types of accommodations they wanted as it was mainly one section of the school that was being impacted.

“I think more can be done given the fact that this is probably a six, seven-year-old issue . . . we know for sure that something has to be done. We are moving towards a resolution.”

Lovell added that the BUT wanted access to all of the air quality and environmental tests that were conducted over the years at the institution.

“I don’t think we got all the tests and I believe some were inconclusive. Some remedial work was supposed to be done on the compound. Some was done, I can’t say for certain that all was done. But we would want to have a look at these environmental reports again, to see where they were lagging.

“I just hope that for the sake of the teaching and learning process, we can finally find a resolution to this issue. This is starting to feel like Louis Lynch all over again,” he said.

Last week the union said the odour issue was resurfacing and it was concerned that the health and safety aspects of the school environment were not receiving enough attention from the Ministry of Education.

Over the years, students and teachers complained of a pungent gaseous smell that was causing them headaches, burning throat sensations, burning eyes and/or itchy skin.

The school closed in 2016 and 2019 and in January, just before the March 2020 outbreak of COVID-19 in Barbados, the students were relocated to various churches where classes were conducted.

Classes were also disrupted in May and the school was closed again.

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