Ja school flooded with mud

ST. MARY, Jamaica – More than 1,200 students of the Port Maria Primary School in St. Mary, Jamaica, had to stay home again yesterday, even as dozens of parents and teachers spent the day cleaning up the school that had been covered in mud and water since heavy rains lashed the area last week.

Acting principal of the Port Maria Primary School, Daslyn Downer, said the school may have to remain closed for the rest of the week.

“Even when we finally get the mud out of the classrooms, we cannot reopen with so much mud in the yard. We have to think about the health of the children,” she said, taking a break from sweeping water out of a classroom. Ms. Downer was one of several teachers, parents and community members who turned out to help clean up the school yesterday.

It was a gloomy sight. Dozens of destroyed textbooks, pieces of furniture, documents and even clothing were being thrown out of rooms that on Thursday were almost filled with water. “We lost computers, tape recorders, very important documents and library books. Everything is gone,” Ms. Downer said.

She noted that if the rains hold up, it may be possible for grades four, five and six to reopen on Friday as those classrooms are on the upper level of the school and suffered only minimal damage. “The lower grades may have to stay home longer than that though, as the damage is really extensive,” the principal said. It is still too early to guess the value of the items lost in the flood at the school, but Ms. Downer said she expected it to be quite high.

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