Wed | Apr 8, 2020

St Simon Primary looking to rebound from earthquake damage

Published:Friday | February 7, 2020 | 12:23 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Fifteen students from the St Simon Primary School in Hanover are awaiting assistance from the Ministry of Education to repair their classroom, which sustained damage as a result of the 7 .7 strength earthquake that rocked Jamaica and several other Caribbean islands last week.

The epicentre of the January 28 earthquake was located 73 miles off the coast of Hanover’s capital, Lucea, which borders the St Simon community.

Keneisha Stennett-Dunbar, the disaster preparedness coordinator at the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC), told The Gleaner that, despite the strength of the quake, the damage was minimal.

“We had several buildings in the parish that reported cracks in their walls, nothing major to cause any relocation. The parish library and several schools were numbered among those buildings,” said Stennett-Dunbar.

“We had a school that reported some damage. Some had recent structural assessments which had shown the buildings had some structural faults. The earthquake that happened worsened the situation.”

Stennett-Dunbar pointed out that the St Simon Primary School recently had a structural assessment done by the Ministry of Education and the engineer’s report from is pending.

“Based on what we are seeing with the naked eye, the students might have to be relocated from that section of the building,” Stennett-Dunbar stated. “We are hoping that the necessary reports will be ready before the end of February, so that the matter can be dealt with expeditiously.”

STUDENTS RELOCATED

When The Gleaner visited St Simon yesterday, it was revealed that the 15 affected students have been relocated from the section of the building that housed their classroom to another section of the school.

Tachelle Phillips, the school’s principal, described the damage to the institution as “not extensive” but said the decision to relocate the students was taken out of extreme caution.

“The event took everyone by surprise, but we have been doing our regular drills so the students and teachers took the necessary evasive action based on what they were taught,” the principal said. “We have already been visited by personnel from the Ministry of Education and the necessary assessments done.”