Education Ministry: ‘Safety Is A Priority’

August 24, 2019

Noting that work has been carried out to remove the asbestos that was discovered at Clearwater Middle, the Ministry of Education said they wish to “reassure Clearwater Middle School teachers, staff, students and parents that the safety and well-being of children and school staff remain their priority.”

A Government spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Education wishes to first and foremost reassure Clearwater Middle School teachers, staff, students and parents that the safety and well-being of children and school staff remain their priority.

“The Ministry also wishes to assure that Clearwater Middle will be safe to attend and open to receive students and staff on 3 September and 10 September, 2019 respectively, given the results from the assessment conducted by AC Management and Bermuda Water Consultants.

“The concerns expressed by Clearwater Middle School staff and parents are taken very seriously, and the Ministry of Education wishes to provide information that has been collected by licensed contractors in regards to the safety of the Clearwater Middle facility.

“Asbestos was discovered at Clearwater Middle in June 2019 within the ceiling of the cafeteria, and the ceiling of the custodial closet spaces. A licensed asbestos abatement contractor [AC Management] was immediately contacted to come and asses the areas with asbestos and carry out abatement works.

“The process for clearing an area of asbestos at any school facility is detailed and carefully carried out. In regards to Clearwater Middle School, the following procedure was applied:

  • “AC Management assessed the levels of asbestos to determine which materials were deemed to be damaged.
  • “Damaged materials were encapsulated or removed and replaced with non-asbestos materials. This work was completed on 5 August, 2019.
  • “Following the completion of abatement works, air samples of the previously affected areas were collected by Bermuda Water Consultants and sent to an overseas lab for testing. The lab results came back, and the areas were deemed safe and asbestos-free.
  • “Lab results were submitted to the Department of Health, and a certificate of completion is in progress as a final assurance that the tested areas are safe for students and staff.

“Following these abatement works, during a routine cleaning, it was reported that asbestos was suspected in an area of classroom floor tiles at Clearwater Middle. The above procedure was immediately employed, and samples were sent to an overseas lab on 23 August. Results are expected back next week after which the corresponding health certificate will be issued from the Department of Health.”

The Minister of Education commented, “I want to first apologise to parents and staff that they were not notified of these works in a timely fashion. It is our aim to be transparent and forthcoming with all information in regards to school facilities and work being conducted that relates to health and safety.

“Protocols are being put in place to ensure that the Ministry has all parent’s correct email addresses and contact information to allow for notices of this nature to be sent out quickly and efficiently.”

The Minister continued, “We most certainly appreciate and encourage our staff to point out issues of concern in these cases, as done with Clearwater Middle School. When necessary, licensed contractors are brought in to evaluate and recommend solutions. While their methods may not be familiar to or understood by persons outside of their licensed technicians, we rely on their expertise to ensure the safety of our schools.”

A spokesperson added, “The Ministry notes that no health issues have been reported regarding asbestos exposure. The Ministry also notes that in regards to concerns expressed regarding asbestos discovered in 2018 in the custodial main storeroom area at Clearwater Middle School, abatement works were conducted and completed in December 2018 – as per the mentioned procedure.

“The Ministry and Department of Education appreciate feedback from all persons who are concerned with the health and safety of students and school staff. The Ministry and Department invites open dialogue with staff, students and the public when matters of concern arise – and will continue to do what is necessary to rectify issues thoroughly and professionally.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. Trump supporter says:

    None of you know the meaning of transparency, even though you all preached it leading up to the election.
    Clueless, and you want independence. Amazing

  2. Madge says:

    Is there any gov schools safe ?

  3. Question says:

    One week ago they were assuring us the place was safe.

  4. Looking says:

    Clearwater opened in 1998, and they are just finding asbestos?

  5. These devices have to be cleaned daily!
    Maybe even more often.