TN Tatem Middle School Is Closed Today

November 28, 2016

[Updated] TN Tatem Middle School is closed today [Nov 28] as teachers are not expected to report to work, the Ministry of Education has confirmed.

A spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Education has this morning closed T N Tatem Middle School. Teachers are not expected to report to work today and as a result the school will be closed.

“Regrettably student are being asked not to report to TN Tatem today. The Ministry of Education apologises to parents and student and will issue a further update later today.”

Today’s closure follows after the ongoing issues and complaints about the condition of the school.

Update 5.33pm: Minister of Education Wayne Scott said, “I wish to advise the public and parents of students attending T.N. Tatem Middle School that members of the Ministry of Education administration team have met regularly with teachers and staff to address facility challenges and to begin planning a way forward to improve conditions at the school.

“Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Mrs. Valerie Robinson-James met with staff on November 17th and agreed to have weekly communications with staff, teachers and parents.

“The Permanent Secretary indicated that a full report from the Health and Safety Officer has been fast tracked and we are anticipating having that report on Monday, 28 November.

“It is anticipated that by Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, we will have further information to provide to teachers, parents and the general public.

“We recognize that the situation at T.N. Tatem has been the cause of distress for teachers and parents. We share their concerns. The health and safety of the students and staff at TN Tatem has been our primary focus.

“As stated, the Ministry is planning to share the report findings to all concerned and present a comprehensive plan for the remainder of the school year. However, we first must receive the Health and Safety report.

“I can share with you the communication that was sent on behalf of the Ministry to the Principal and staff at T.N. Tatem on November 22nd from Dr. Lou Matthews.”

Dr Matthews said, ‘Mrs. McMahon and T.N. Tatem family, I am writing to provide you with an update from the Department of Education following our meeting with staff on Thursday, November 17th, 2016.

“This is the first of week updates. As a result of that meeting four areas of focus were discussed as action items:

1. The completion of the Health and Safety investigation.

“The report of the Health and Safety officer has been fast-tracked and will be available Monday, November 28th. Mr. Titus Gordon will be visiting the school on Wednesday to conduct further observations as well.

2. Sharing of concerns with Minister and approval of next steps.

“PS will be seeking urgent Ministerial approval to remediate any and all rooms not meeting the health standards. She will also share with the Minister other questions raised by staff.

3. Regular updates on mould abatement.

“The mould abatement vendor as well as their subcontractors have been informed that under no circumstances should there be work going on before 3:30 pm [weekdays].

“Therefore work will only take place evenings and weekends. They are scheduled to come in tomorrow to start rooms 203 and 204.

“Thus far two rooms have been abated [253 and art room] with the ceiling left to install but they have been re-tested and we are awaiting results.

“We should have these approximately 1 week from next week Tuesday when air samples arrive stateside.

4. Staff Health Concerns.

“The Department is advising staff members to report any adverse conditions of personal wellness directly to the principal who will prepare a log of the environmental concerns. Staff members should also be mindful of their personal health and take precautionary steps where necessary.

“Next Update on November 29, 2016.”

“We are awaiting the report and we will make the decision based on the findings in the report. As I have stated on numerous occasions, our children come first and we must be ready to do all we can to provide a teaching environment that is safe for all.

“With this in mind, once we get the facts from the report a decision will be made regarding whether remediation can be done outside of school hours, over the weekends, and the upcoming school break, or if it would be in the best interest of all concerned to shut the building and temporarily move all students to Clearwater where there is sufficient capacity.

“However any findings and plan will be fully communicated to T.N. Tatem family, and to the greater community.

“At this time, we have not heard anything from the teachers &/or Union regarding tomorrow and we would expect that all teachers will report to work as scheduled.”

Update 7.49pm: A Progressive Labour Party spokesperson said, “The PLP finds it reprehensible that the lack of repair and maintenance at T.N. Tatem Middle School has caused students to lose a day’s education today due to teachers taking necessary moves to protect their health. This, in addition to other work stoppages during this term, is unacceptable.

“The One Bermuda Alliance government is clearly not tuned in to the needs of this facility. The teachers have repeatedly voiced their distress, as recently as November 17th, and these considerable concerns continue to fall on deaf ears.

“When will the Minister of Education, Mr. Wayne Scott, listen? When will the Minister of Public Works, Craig Cannonier, listen?

“The OBA never fails to find funding for every project that shows their government in a good light internationally. “Disappointingly, when it comes to providing dollars for school maintenance that will benefit Bermudian students, there is no money to be found.

“Shadow Minister of Education Lovitta Foggo expresses the following: “We call on both Ministers to address these issues, complete with a plan and timeline that will complete these repairs. Public school students and teachers deserve safe and healthy schools to function in.”

“The PLP believes no child should risk their health to receive an education. No teacher should have to go to such drastic measures to force the government to execute their duty of care.”

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Comments (21)

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  1. Ok………….

  2. Brian says:

    But we’re having the America’s Cup!!! The tale of two Bermuda’s has never been more real… We’d find the $$ to fix or do whatever was needed for AC35 (before it was an actual issue) but can’t be arsed to take care of our own. How this government can sleep at night knowing they are doing such a piss-poor job of dealing with day-to-day issues boggles the mind. Stop pandering to those who need it least and start working for those who need it most.

    • Brian, you have stated eloquently what most Bermudians generally say..”the 2 Bermuda’s.”
      As you go to the polls shortly, do not forget what the oba has put Bermudians through.

      Great comment!!
      Share that love with your fellow Bermudians!!

    • somuchless says:

      They sleep the same way the plp did.

      • Hurricane says:

        Well, smouchless, I don’t know how they can when they ran on a platform of “change”.

  3. Dog says:

    Yup but the cabinet building looking good though

    • jj says:

      And the grass is always cut… I wonder why they can’t manage to cut the grass on the side of the roads on a regular?

  4. Frank says:

    Still no reason why? How can they just not show up to work?

    • oba do not give a d— about Bermudians. It is soooo clear to see.
      When election time comes, they will produce MORE lies for the Bermudian to gobble up.
      Do not be fooled by their cheap folly!

      • Truth in Advertising says:

        Betty, working a double shift, sowing division everywhere.

  5. Nae says:

    A warning could’ve been given.
    This was known last week; reason for cancelling the morning greet.

    I am totally in agreement with standing together to make a point but two wrongs do not make a right. Consider all other jobs affected for the parents that need to collect &/ accommodate their child/ren.

    Knowing that most of “us” are struggling in the system, why add to it? There are better ways and planning that can be accomplished whilst still fighting for what is needed in our schools.

    ..Slightly Annoyed!

  6. Tatem Parent says:

    Fix the school so that our children can get back to receiving their education!

  7. Truth says:

    Tell them to get to work.

  8. Derek W says:

    Was it a sick out?

  9. watching says:

    When will this government commit to fixing the bad state of the schools?
    The cabinet building is being refurbished…
    They are building a brand new $250M airport…
    The road to dockyard is being paved for America’s Cup…
    but our children and teachers have to go to school in deplorable conditions.

    And its just business as usual…

    • Truth says:

      I’m sorry but you’re 100% wrong.

      Unless by the ‘they’ you mean the Canadian company that Bermuda had to go begging to due to our insurmountable debt.

  10. Look at cabinet says:

    Why should our students and staff be forced to sit in a building when repairs are being done but then cabinet office is doing a sImilar project and they get to move office. There is much space in other schools to move th students and teachers in a temporary basis to accommodate these repairs being done in a timely manner and not just after 330 only.

  11. Sick & Tired says:

    I invite all the above naysayers to go and sit in this school with the mold and get headaches, lightheaded, have asthma attacks. bronchitis, a loss of voice!!!! And lord knows what else!!!!

  12. Kim says:

    Is the school closed today as well? Is there any further update

  13. bdaboy says:

    How did it get in such bad condition? Hurricane? vandals?

  14. BRISUN says:

    We live in a very damp country where Mold exists in our houses, schools buildings and shops.

    The present Government inherited no money in the account so don’t blame the OBA how easy people forget.

    Have the building cleaned with Clorox and add a new fresh of paint. If is more serious then close it until a solution can be met.

    Realistically the area the school is located is very damp and swampy..

    Hope a solution can be met soon. To get these children back to books.

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