Yesterday we told you about the situation faced by students at the Ranchito Government School who have had to stay at home following the cancelation of classes for the week. This is due to the dilapidated condition of the largest school building at the school compound and the rodent and insect infestation in at least two buildings. The biggest and perhaps the oldest building at the compound has been deemed unsafe and unsanitary by the Belize Central Building Authority following an inspection sometime last week. Officials from the health and Education departments visited the school yesterday while students were out of classes.
They were assessing the situation and finding appropriate spaces to relocate the now displaced students. Today, our News Room received a letter from one Mister Mendez who claims to be the president of the school committee at the Ranchito Government School. We attempted to get in contact with Mendez but to no avail. In his e-mail, Mendez says that parents have not heard from the health official. According to Mendez, they held a meeting on April thirtieth which the Health official informed she could not make but promised to meet at a later date. In that meeting, Mendez says 119 parents signed a letter stating that they will not be sending their children to school until the Ministry of Education finds a solution to the problem.
The Ministry has stepped in and is taking steps to fix the problem. The community center at the village has been suggested as a possible temporary space for at least two classes but according to Mendez, this building also has similar problems. Only when the center and another building are cleaned, will parents allow children to return to classes says Mendez. The reason is because, according to Mendez, parents feel that having the students at the community center also poses a safety issue as well as a health hazard since there are only two bathrooms there. They urge the Ministry to ensure that all necessary facilities be placed at the center if students are to use the building. Mendez also mentioned that as late as one this afternoon no one had returned to the school to ensure that the work is started. Mendez adds that they hope that the situation is solved as soon as possible since the children are losing out on time in their classes.
The Social Investment Fund intends to construct a school building at the school in mid-2015 but Mendez is of the opinion that this project be carried out sooner.