Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Several principals from schools hopeful that smoke will not affect GSAT

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2015 | 3:00 AM
Students from Half-Way Tree Primary School gather for prayers at the Eastwood Park New Testament Church of God yesterday, ahead of today's sitting of the Grade Six Achievement Test.
Students from St Aloysius Primary School play ring games as a means of easing the tension ahead of GSAT.
Grade-six students from Calabar Primary and Junior High School go through some past papers as they prepare for GSAT yesterday.
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Despite the fact that smoke is still emanating from the Riverton landfill, several principals from schools in the surrounding area are hopeful that it will not affect the students sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test that begins today.

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites indicated yesterday that all was on track, with the examination papers in place and the required personnel set to be deployed.

"We are watching the situation carefully, and we will be paying particular attention to those schools that might be in the cartilage of the dump and it is for that reason that we have put the exam to start at 9:30 a.m., rather than the conventional 9 a.m., because the smog usually rises by then, allowing for clean air to prevail," Thwaites said.

"We are waiting to see what happens. If anything happens, we do have plans in place for the schools that have been affected."

Sangieanna Briscoe, principal of the Seaview Gardens Primary School, also said there remained concerns regarding the smoke.

"We still have the issue of the smoke, however, because (as) you know, our students live beside the Riverton landfill (and) we have a few cases in terms of respiratory illnesses that we are concerned about, but we have an extension of up to 9:30 a.m. to begin, and usually by that hour, the smoke tends to decapitate, so we are hoping tomorrow that we will begin on time," she told The Gleaner.

"We have to keep our students hydrated and have scheduled rooms that are closed. We also have our masks ready and waiting not only for our students but the invigilators who are visiting with us."

emergency supplies ready

She added: "The health centres are also on alert, we have written to them, they are about a minute or two away, and they have their emergency supplies ready just in case anything happens."

Principal of the Pembroke Hall Primary, Norma McNeil, said she has high hopes despite the fact that it was foggy yesterday up until 9 a.m.

"I'm hoping that, in any case, it will clear up by 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. That's my only concern. If it doesn't, then we will continue what we have been doing, staying inside," she continued.

alessandro.boyd@gleanerjm.com