On Wednesday, the decision was made to close the doors of the La Inmaculada RC School in Orange Walk Town. Love News covered the story throughout the day as students and teachers complained of feeling ill as a result of the stench from the nearby New River. Ministry of Health inspectors were called in, and the recommendation was given to send students home. Today, Chief Education Officer, Carol Babb, told us that all stakeholders are working on a solution to ensure that students will be able to return to classes on Monday.
Dr.Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer: “So we were advised by the Ministry of Health that the river is contaminated and as a result of the contamination teachers and students were getting sick and so they advised us to close the school for today and tomorrow and the Department of Environment they are doing something to try to rectify the problem. So we are hoping that it will be rectified by Friday. If the problem is not solved we are planning to relocate the students and so we haven’t finalized that part as yet but we’re working with the managing authority to ensure that hopefully by Monday the children will be in school, not necessarily at their usual place but maybe to another location but that is in the pipeline we are working on that. I was told that people who live in Orange Walk said that the stench, they have had that situation before but according to them this is the worst that they’ve ever seen it so we were made to understand that you could smell the stench as soon as you cross the bridge to enter into Orange Walk so I guess it’s really bad and I was told that the children are getting sick, they’re getting headaches and that concerned us so that is why we called off classes today and tomorrow and we’re hoping that the Department of Environment can rectify whatever is causing the stench and they told me that they are working on it so I will check in with them tomorrow and see how it’s going. I haven’t had any other complaints from any other school. I believe I was told that the stench is all over the town but apparently it’s not affecting them the way the students and teachers were affected from La Inmaculada School.”