By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
EXTERMINATION efforts are underway at the D W Davis Junior High School after Ministry of Education officials confirmed five cases of scabies.
Education Director Lionel Sands announced that all operations at the school are suspended until Wednesday when a thorough extermination effort is expected to end.
Mr Sands said that five students of the junior high school contracted the contagious skin infection and added that the ministry has taken every precaution to prevent the spread of the infection.
He did note, however, that the infection was contracted outside of the school’s grounds, not within.
Mr Sands indicated that the school will be assessed from top to bottom, and all necessary tactics needed to solve the matter will be executed.
This came a day after he told The Tribune that he was confident the matter had been handled in a timely fashion.
Mr Sands said yesterday: “What we have done is suspended all activity at the school after consultation with the Ministry of Health, Bahamas Union of Teachers and other important personnel. We decided that this would be the best option to prevent the spread of this infection.”
On Saturday, Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) officials updated their union’s Facebook page with a message about the infection. They warned teachers to be on the look out for the infection and to immediately report it if they suspect a child has it. Yesterday there were unconfirmed reports of teachers at DW Davis staging a “sit-in” in protest of the matter.
Embattled BUT President Belinda Wilson and union area Vice President Sharon Rahming confirmed that they held a meeting with teachers at the school and determined the conditions had to improve before classes could resume. Ms Wilson said that BUT members, education officials and personnel from Ministry of Health toured the school’s compound and determined that closing the school would be best for all parties.
She added: “Health officials screened the students and the staff. They have also begun the process of sterilizing the classrooms and the facility, so we will allow them the time to carry out their assessment and then we will return on Wednesday to re-access.”
Ms Wilson also commended officials from the Ministry of Health for their “preparedness in such short notice”.
Scabies is caused by a tiny mite, which can cause intense itching. It is classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a water-related disease that may be transmitted from objects.
It is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact, with a higher risk with prolonged contact.