Middle Sackville parents believe school's portable is not safe for students
As students head into the last full week of summer vacation, it seems many will be going back to portable classrooms.
That's a particular cause of concern for some parents in Middle Sackville, N.S., who believe their kids' portable classroom isn't safe.
Tanya Pellerine's son Colby is going into Grade 5 at Millwood Elementary School in less than two weeks.
"This portable is very old," Pellerine says, pointing at what will be her son's classroom for six hours a day. "They're patching it up. They're not replacing it or fixing it."
Her son has a respiratory condition, and with visible rot and the worry of mould, she's concerned about his health.
"I'm concerned if he's moved out here, he's going to miss a lot of school and he's going to be sick," says Pellerine. "I'd like to see air quality tests done to show us that the air in there is good and that there's no mould."
Cathy Williams is the chair of the school advisory council at Millwood Elementary. She says parents were told last year that to accommodate the growing numbers of students, newer updated portable classrooms would be in place by September. They would be similar to those at Basinview Elementary in nearby Bedford.
"They tore those portables down," Williams said. "They put in new walls, new ceiling, new floors, a new air exchange system. We're not getting that here. We are also making the point on an equitable learning side. Is this classroom going to be the equivalent classroom that a Grade 5 student would have in Bedford, in Halifax, in any of our sister schools?
At Millwood Elementary, construction workers arrived last week to begin renovations.
"We don't have any confidence that the walls have been opened up, the floors, the ceilings have been checked for mould and rot," Williams said.
The Halifax Regional Centre for Education says it's sending someone by to look at the building, but parents are concerned that it's a little too late. With school starting in just over a week, parents worry there's not enough time to make the portable classroom ready for students.
"We're currently renovating both portables at Millwood Elementary," said HRCE spokesman Doug Hadley. "We wrote to the parents last night to give them a little bit of an idea of what the plans are. Between now and the start of school in a couple of weeks, we're going to make them welcoming and brand new and ready for students to start school on Sept. 5."
Hadley says air quality tests will be done once the renovations are complete, and parents will have access to the results.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Amy Stoodley.