An apparent sick out has hit a number of secondary schools across the island, with some of them reportedly being forced to close early due to the lack of staff.
The schools said to be affected today include the Combermere School, the Lodge School, Springer Memorial, St. George Secondary, Grantley Adams Memorial and the Alleyne School. It’s understood that there was also a high degree of absenteeism at Queen’s College since yesterday and the action is expected to spread to St. Leonard’s by this afternoon.
At one school as many as twenty teachers were reported to be absent today, with the Lodge School and Combermere reportedly among the schools that were due to close by midday due to lack of an adequate number of staff to supervise students, while at other schools, classes had been consolidated, so they can be properly supervised by the remaining staff.
The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union, BSTU, which has been very vocal in raising a number of grievances said to be affecting teachers deny there’s any official industrial action being taken. However, BSTU President Mary-Anne Redman tells Starcom Network News she is aware teachers have stayed away from school today and she speculated about the possible reasons why.
“We’re in the process of doing due diligence to ascertain the exact reason for this, but we can definitely say that it is not industrial action, because when we take industrial action as a Union, we follow a set procedure,” said Redman.
Meantime, the Ministry of Education confirms that the Lodge School, Grantley Adams Memorial and the Combermere School are closed for Friday. But the Ministry says CXC exams will continue as normal.