Madam Speaker, I would like to rise in the house today to provide more information about the preventative action this government is taking to ensure that Island schools are healthy. In light of the recent air quality issues at Elm Street School, we have decided to take a proactive approach to ensure our Island schools are healthy.
Madam Speaker, the investigation into the issues at Elm Street School identified water infiltration around the windows to be a primary source of the problem… To ensure this is not an issue at some of our other facilities, Madam Speaker, we are going to be conducting a survey of various schools to identify similar issues that may not be on our radar.
This survey will provide the information we need to ensure that our Island schools are safe for our students, teachers and staff.
Madam Speaker, the survey will be done in cooperation with all three Island school boards and the Departments of Education and Early Childhood Development and Transportation and Infrastructure renewal.
Madam Speaker, we recognize that the school Boards have the responsibility for operation and maintenance of their individual schools and we have had discussions with the boards and we are all in agreement that this proactive approach is the best course of action to mitigate problems before they arise. Madam Speaker, we will work with the experts at the boards and with Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to arrange the inspections.
The process will begin with these experts and they will meet with the property managers from each board as well as the department of Education and Early childhood Development to discuss possible water infiltration issues at each school. They will then gather any information from recent inspections or complaints and determine a priority list for inspections, based on existing information, complaints, age of the building and type of construction.
Madam Speaker, they will then determine how inspections can be scheduled to ensure that the impact on school operations is minimal. Madam Speaker, the experts at the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will source out the resources required to complete the review.
The inspections will be conducted over the next number of months and a report will be sent to the Departments of Education and Early Childhood Development, Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal as well as all three school boards. And any required remedial work will be determined in this report and will be carried out in the Summer of 2011.
Madam Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the Western School Board for their quick action with regards to the issues at Elm Street… the whole school community at Elm Street school, including parents, teachers, staff, students and administrators have done an amazing job dealing with a difficult situation… everyone in that community has pulled together to ensure that there has been minimal disruption in learning and the positive attitudes from everyone involved have made all the difference in this situation… Madam Speaker, I would like to reiterate that this government’s priority is to ensure the health and safety of our students, teachers and staff and that this review is being done to find any issues that could interfere with a healthy learning environment in our Island schools.