Shadow Minister On Dellwood School Opening

September 13, 2017

“Why is there still a prevalence of mould, two weeks after the school secured a clean bill of health, from a health and safety perspective,” Shadow Minister of Education Cole Simons said.

Mr Simons said, “I note with interest the issues raised with the reopening of the Dellwood Middle School, and the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Work’s commitment to having our schools ready after a three month summer break.

“The comments which I question, apply to a statement made by the Minister of Education on September 7, when he confirmed that the Ministry of Health, and Government’s Health and Safety officer, had cleared the school areas for occupancy, and yet two weeks later, again we have health concerns in regards to the presence of mould.

“In addition, in that same statement, the Minister went on to indicate ‘that the repair work was completed, and it took four weeks instead of the estimated six weeks, and that the school will reopen on Wednesday, September 13. What happened between September 8 and today?

“May I suggest that the Government come clean with the public? It has been brought to my attention that the library is still sealed off, the roof of the gymnasium and that other rooms at the school remain sealed of as they are unhealthy. Why is there still a prevalence of mould, two weeks after the school secured a clean bill of health, from a health and safety perspective.

“Having sat as the Minister of Education for just under six months, I do not expect for these mould issues to go away any time soon. The Ministry of Education does not have a refurbishment plan, nor a remediation plan, for each of our schools, and their campuses.

“In addition, we must refine the day to day remediation, and maintenance program for each of our schools, so that the leadership team in each school can strategically address the custodial and remedial issues when they first present themselves.

“We cannot begin to address these challenges, when they are out of hand. Our first line of defense for this situation, will be our school custodians, principals, and Works and Engineering’s school infrastructure inspectors.

“We as Bermudians, all know that mould management issues, and infrastructure management issues are a way of life here in Bermuda. We do not just build our homes or commercial buildings, and let them carry us for some 20 years.

“We arrange to have regular maintenance plans for them. We check our roofs every two years. We check and paint our roofs every two years. We check and paint the windows. We look out for leaks, and correct them immediately at their source. In addition, we also ensure that our homes breath, and therefore, we regularly open our doors and our windows for proper ventilation.

“In summary, the same basic principles and management plans that we have in place for our homes should apply to each of our school buildings. It is not rocket science.”

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Comments (71)

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  1. watching says:

    This guy had the nerve to open his mouth.
    Maybe if his government had taken care of the schools during their reign of terror, then we wouldn’t be in this position?
    Maybe if they had taken a fraction of the monies given to the AC, then we wouldn’t be in the position…
    Yes we all want the government to be honest, and to get things done, but some things are better left unsaid, especially from those that were in the position to fix them, yet ignored them.
    Such a joke he is!

    • sandgrownan says:

      You miss the crucial point. There is plenty of funding to resolve maintenance issues, in fact the most recent OBA budget increased spending as has been addressed at length. It still costs more per student to educate at public school than private school.

      “The Ministry of Education does not have a refurbishment plan, nor a remediation plan, for each of our schools, and their campuses.”

      This is a civil service/ministry issue where civil servants fail to be held accountable. Successive Ministers of E., of both parties, have had their hands tied by intransigence within the Ministry. Clean out the Ministry of Education – that’s where the fault lies.

      • Nonsense says:

        I am a civil servant and have advised this Minister. There is no money for maintenance of this sort. none. The relative small budget for maintenance is not sufficient to maintain a maintenance program in schools. So a plan of air???

        Secondly, this minister would have been aware of all of these issues for last two years from the SCORE report onward. Technical officers have advised each of the last two Ministers of the urgent attention needed to school infrastructure. Minister 1: Full cup. Let’s do surface works and give a press release on painted buildings. Minister 2: nothing.

        • X oba voter says:

          BINGO!!!!!!!!! This X minister should go back and tell Bermuda why his UBP party had to change the name to oba. Air all the dirt.

        • Sandgrownan says:

          I can read the budget – it’s in the public domain remember – not fixing the schools is a civil service issue. We pay you to do this and it appears you can’t or won’t do it. You have access to materials and resources at lower than market rate too.

    • Double S says:

      How come you didn’t care about the mold in our public buildings prior to 2012?

      I mean a former police officer was awarded something like $5mn in damages due to his health being negatively affected by mold in his work place.

      Same issue for a public school teacher as well.

      Why was there mold prior to 2012 when the PLP was running $400mn deficits and found all sorts of funds to pay fulfill their friends and family capital projects?

      So I say to you, you didn’t care before 2012 and you don’t care now. All you truly care about is being a fanboy for your Party.

    • David says:

      “Maybe if they had taken a fraction of the monies given to the AC, then we wouldn’t be in the position…”

      That’s the thing- we WOULD still be in this position. We spend more money per public school student than annual tuition at the most expensive high school on the island. If it was all about money, our public school system would have the best infrastructure and its students would receive the best education- hands down.

      I feel the issue is more about competence and less about money. We Bermudians accepted this fact for tourism. Why can’t we do the same for education?

      • kevin says:

        I am so sick and tired of the 70 million for AC when the numbers come back and you all finally understand that we made money from it what a surprise….you have been fed all of this negative about AC yet it will prove to be the best thing that ever happened to BDA in 50 years but your head is so far up the PLP backside you cant see it . This whole deal about the schools is simply STAFF ARE NOT BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE it is simple we do not get our monies worth from our civil service .

        • Ringmaster says:

          Let’s compare the $70m for AC which will aid Tourism and sports for years to come (the PLP have raised the ACBDA profile to all sports) versus $50m for Grand Atlantic and $20 million for Port Royal. Dead money, just like so much spending under the PLP.

    • nerema says:

      So why did Robain tell us last week the school had no mould, and then today we learn it has so much mould the school can’t be used?
      Last week the Minister was boasting about how they had cleared the mould in only 4 weeks. This week there is mould again.
      Do you enjoy it when you’re lied to by the PLP?

      • Onion Juice says:

        Because he’s not a mould expert, just like when Fahy told us it was a Tropical storm not a hurricane.
        You only say what you’re told.

        • bda says:

          OJ, you’re not an expert on anything but stupidity…and it doesn’t seem to stop you from proving how stupid you are, multiple times a day.
          You must be so embarrassed right now….better get back to diddling. LMAO

        • Onion says:

          So the Civil Servants are incompetent then.

          If only we had a plan to address that.

        • Zevon says:

          He lied because he is incompetent then.
          Or, the civil servants lied because they are incompetent.
          Which one of them should resign? One of them doesn’t deserve their job.

    • mixitup says:

      I’m glad someone else had the energy to respond to this.. Wasn’t he the Minister of Nothing during the previous Gov’t's dismal 4 yrs? And now has everything to say? Oh rite, he has to say something to remind us that he is still around.

      • jt says:

        It’s the same petty, pointless press release we grew so accustomed to hearing from the plp. Less vitriolic but just as pointless and unfortunate.
        But did you rail on the plp too?

    • Wake up says:

      I agree. What a silly response the former Minister has made. His brain has obviously been affected by the the mould.

    • Albie says:

      Apparently we didn’t have mould problems way back when.

      I guess the real question is when did the mould begin to be a problem?

      I will tell you, when we started to keep the windows and doors closed and installed air conditioning systems.

      The custodial staff used to be there early in the morning and open the classroom windows unless it was raining. The teachers would close and open the windows as necessary through the day.
      The custodial staff would at the end of day clean the school and close windows on their way out.

      With the advent of air conditioning the mandate is to always keep the windows closed so there is no fresh air flowing through the classrooms or for that matter the rest of the school.

      Solution to the mould problem?

      Cancel the air conditioning contracts.
      Remove the a/c units.
      Have the custodial staff on site at 7am to open windows and interior doors to facilitate the movement of fresh air.
      Instruct teachers to take responsibility for the opening and closing of windows in their classrooms.
      Require that custodial staff as their last job of the day to check that all windows and exterior doors are closed and secure.

      Yes there may well be exceptions such as a library, computer lab and any place where documents are stored I accept that but I cannot see the need to continue to spend vast amounts of taxpayer money on the air conditioning our schools. Schools around the world survive in much harsher climates than ours and do not require this technology.

      And the mould is harming our students! It’s a no brainer! Get rid of the a/c and you get rid of the mould and you improve the health of our students! AND SAVE huge amounts of money that now goes to BELCO, the A/C companies as well as reducing medical bills!

      If the government does not do this then they are derelict in their duty to the staff and students as well as the Bermuda taxpayer. Get with the program!!! and now!!!!

      It’s time for common sense to finally

      • Bdabye says:

        Best letter in this whole thread. Unfortunately no one seems to want the truth anymore.

    • The real Terry says:

      @watching Rein of Terror, are you trying to take O J’s title as a$$ h of the year away from him. Even Stevie Wonder could see the country was in better shape on July 18th than it was in Dec. of 2011. However you own it now so fix everything you said you would. Handle it LOL

  2. Unbelievable says:

    Weel he does have a point. The PLP now own the problem. They better fix it.

  3. wondering says:

    this is typical political posturing that has brought the country to its knees once already – OBA please be an effective Opposition not just a Jimmy Cranky who collect tax dollars for nothing!!

    the previous administration did little to maintain the problem and it is of no benefit to complain about a system that has been broken for two decades!!

  4. Politricks says:

    Despite your political leanings, he does have a point.

    The new Minister of Education said all issues have now been resolved and our kids would be able to attend school without the worries of mold.

    Was he misled by his technical officers, contractors and/or someone else? Did he not go and inspect the affected areas himself to confirm the remediation efforts were completed in a satisfactory manner?

    All I know is that if the previous Government would have made such an announcement and then this information came out they would have been accused of ‘hating public school students’ and the like.

    So where is the same outrage now?

    Are our children worth less now that the PLP is in power? Are such misleading statements by a Minister acceptable?

    • Onion Juice says:

      Like T.N.Tatem.

      • Double S says:

        So then why aren’t you criticizing this like you did with TN Tatem, sheep?

        • Onion Juice says:

          Because Dunks said de teachers were starting trouble and didnt realize how serious de problem was.

          • Mixitup says:

            Exactly. The government is acting. They are pulling out all stops to correct. They have made significant progress, whether there are additional problems in the school? Could be so, but I have faith that they will resolve the remaining issues, the other Govt simply did not care.

    • wahoo says:

      politics and reality – not the same. PLP to find out real soon but they must be slow learners because they had 15 years in this business not so long ago.

    • cpm says:

      If the OBA were still in power you lot would have been marching over mould in our schools

  5. Academy says:

    Do the schools not have their own maintenance teams? Do you hear of these issues at BHA and Warwick? No, because they have maintenance teams who have pride in their jobs and know what they are doing. When you have the nonsense like we saw at TN Tatum of dust on the trophy cabinets and dirty windows, then you know that you have a problem with on-the-ground maintenence, nothing to do with who the government of the day is.

    Once again, it’s a civil service issue, with politicians attempting to make capital out of it.

    • A Chap called Vanz says:

      They have private contractors who are held accountable. Don’t clean properly, lose the contract.

    • Grizz says:

      @Academy – Now that’s a statement that makes me say hmmmmm Very interesting questions!

    • Albie says:

      Open the windows and doors.

      Turn off the A/C systems.

      We never had mould problems before a/c was involved.

      Save money on electricity, a/c contracts and medical bills for our families and the government.

    • Albie says:

      Next question is who checks on the custodial staff and how often?

      If the checkers were doing their job there would be no mould issue.

      So the next question is how often do the schools, and for that matter all government buildings get checked for mould, safety, cleanliness etc? Probably a lot less than we taxpayers expect.

      I travel in lots of multi storey buildings daily. I am amazed at how out of date the elevator inspections certificates are in those devices. It does not surprise me that the civil service is not doing their job because no one holds them to account.

      It’s time that the civil service gets a big shake up and all that dead wood heads to the chipper!
      Year after year we hear of how poorly government functions. At the end of the day the performance of the government is down to the civil servants that do or don’t do the day to day work that we expect of the,.

  6. Paid Blogger says:

    @watching here it goes again! It is not the Govt Minister who is responsible for the daily/weekly running of the schools regarding Maintence it is the custodians who if you look into it are standing by the road all day watching traffic.
    This issue is school wide and if we can get a handle on the custodians (some might be good) who then report on the W&E these issues will be sorted.

    • Onion Juice says:

      They are not standing by de road all day watching traffic, they are safely guiding our children when they get off de bus.

  7. 24-12 says:

    Are you serious… please shut your mouth!!

    • bda says:

      “Are you serious… please shut your mouth!!”

      Shut your hole, bigot.

  8. Smiths says:

    What reign of terror…?

    The reign of terror started when structural deficit spending was put in place. The PLP will soon find it very difficult to do anything as a result of the shackles (deficits) they created before 2013.

    And if the deficit is not eliminated, things will be worse in the long run. It you don’t believe this, you’re fooling yourself!

    The election is over, it’s time to be truthful and solve for the elephant in the room, that was spoken very little of during the election!

    Fix the deficit!


    • Onion Juice says:

      Well good thing we spent ALL that money on Americas Cup to off set de debt.

      • bee says:

        lucky the RIO from AC will pay for the schools – just like the OBA planned to do all along but some were too blind to see.

    • Ringmaster says:

      David Burt has promised to fix the deficit by 2019. That’s in less than 2 years. The amount needing fixing is around $125 million a year. The only small matter missing is how he intends to accomplish this magical feat. The people need to know because it would seem the only way possible is to reduce the cost of the Civil Service (the people) and raise taxes on the people. Do the people understand this?

      • bda says:

        ” Do the people understand this?”

        No, ‘some’ people don’t have the foggiest clue how an economy works.

        • Onion Juice says:

          We understand that we are giving Canada $30 Million a year for 30 years.

          • nerema says:

            And we understand you’re going to ‘expand the economy’ to balance the budget by 2019 using offshore gambling.

          • Double S says:

            Do you understand that we are giving a private company $30mn a year for the hospital wing development, sheep?

          • Ringmaster says:

            $30 million a year is about same the PLP gifted to a secret entity to build and run half a hospital. At least Bermuda gets a whole airport.

          • bee says:

            wasn’t the hospital financed the same under Zaney?

            • nerema says:

              Yep. And even that changed from the ‘new hospital’ to the ‘new hospital wing’. Only the stupid didn’t notice the difference.

          • The real Terry says:

            Onion Juice you aught to get on your knees every night and thank Canada for saving the PLP”s a$$ If it hadn’t been for the Canadian Investment Co and bank stepping in Bank of Butt. would have defaulted on that $200 million your Govt. had backed. We would have been that much further in debt and a lot of your ace boys and girls would have been out of work. However I think this is way above your pay grade so not surprised you seem to know nothing of this fact.

      • Zevon says:

        So far all he’s done is set up committees.

      • JUNK YARD DOG says:

        Looking for gold?

        What’s the matter?

        Double dip not working?

        The Banks, B.E.L.Co and Insurance companies profits are payed out in dividends, which keep the boat from sinking.

        Now the smart answer!

        Never bite the hand! or put your hands in another mans pocket.

        Years ago Governments used to earn their revenue.

        Local Bermudian workers, do something you should have been doing for years, invest in your own country, buy stock in local business showing performance, be part of the organization or part of the misery.

        Government can offer an infrastructure bond with better interest than the Banks are paying. Buy some of our debt.

        4 guys in a room with the door locked , each with $1,000. For investment ,who would come out on top ? Nobody ! for sheer lack of trust!

      • jt says:

        All he needs to do is stick with Bob’s plan.

  9. Adrian says:

    The PLP will put bandaids on All the public schools and get PRAISED FOR IT

  10. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    Vote of NO confidence is in order.

  11. FYI says:

    Shadow Minister Cole Simons, please be quiet as you WERE while in office! Clearly you and your party do not care about public education because if you did you would not open your mouth now only to seize an opportunity to be heard during this most unfortunate time. Instead you would roll up your sleeves and get involved genuinely, and not use this only for political points or a photo op.

    I believe whenever one serves for the first time there is much to learn, and sometimes there may be some mishaps along the way. I guarantee, and it’s my hope, that Minister Rabain will learn from this and will become an even greater leader.

    On another note, I’ve had the pleasure to observe Minister Rabain over the years volunteering his time where the Lions Roar with passion and concern, not for recognition but simply because he cares. That means more to me than hearing from a party that has already demonstrated its feeling toward public education.

    To our Government, you have the people’s support. Please take your time, be thorough, communicate effectively and manage the budget wisely.

  12. Common Sense says:

    For those who are not bright enough to understand, the AC was an investment for Bermuda’s future, and will pay dividends long ahead.
    Compare this with the money spent on Global Hue, Grand Atlantic and Port Royal.

  13. ATTN: Dellwood Parents says:

    Good evening Parents:

    Please find below the updates for tomorrow, September 14, 2017

    1. We are still awaiting an update from the Ministry regarding the building however, our Lions will *report to the school amphitheater* for registration again tomorrow, September 14th, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.

    2. Students will engage in the second day of the traditional *Back to School Conference* tomorrow which will be hosted across the street at the Salvation Army.

    3. Students may wear their spirit shirts, P.E. uniform or a blue, maroon or white shirt with jeans or appropriate bottoms.

    4. M1 students are to wear the name tags they received today.

    5. Students are required to bring *a packed lunch* and *plenty of water*. Parents please ensure your child has sufficient water for the day.

    6. The school day will end at *2:30 p.m.* with dismissal taking place from Dellwood Middle.

    7. Instructions for the Friday will be communicated once confirmed tomorrow.

  14. Jose says:

    We can’t have peeps saying bad about the brilliance of Burt now can we ?we cant have our new government keeping our people quiet with a few celebratory parties now can we , it’s a glass political ceiling about to crack , Bermudians come in all colours first true fact , second wait u till the billls come in …… sh.t storm warning ahead …………question when Will they outfit all public parks with fitness equipment ….stilll waiting …. or more lies?

  15. Time Shall Tell says:

    Petty politics holds back the true progression of this island. Let’s stop playing for political points & work for a true solution to actual problems rather than wasting time pointing fingers. Here’s a problem, both sides should be working together for a solution rather than worrying about making the other party look bad. That said, us as a people need to stop feeding into this which is what makes this whole situation continue to be possible. Unless things change all that is going to happen is nothing (as usual) & than more finger pointing because nothing was accomplished in the first place.

  16. Edwin says:

    Why didn’t he open his mouth when Michael Dunkley said that someone was being mischievous about mold at TN Tatem.

  17. Trump supporter says:

    Oba was still in power we’d have marching protesting and the rest.

  18. aceboy says:

    There is good mold and bad mold.

    Good mold grew from 1998 to 2012.

    Bad mold grew from 2012 to 2016.

    Good mold began growing again in July 2017.

  19. T says:

    Two weeks ago minister said there no mold now two weeks later there mold, well he lied so let’s get our flags , horns whistles , drums and lets march and have a day off, oh right that would only have happened if boa was in power, people wake up there is so much more lies to come u will see

  20. Rhonda says:

    It appears the oba haven’t learned anything from their whooping. ..

    Something just aren’t political..