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TEACHERS SAY ELENA CHRISTIAN STILL NOT READY

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The on-again, off-again saga at St. Croix’s Elena Christian Junior High School continued Monday, a day before classes were to resume. The school has been closed since Hurricane Lenny struck on Nov. 17.
After the storm, Department of Education officials delayed the resumption of classes because of structural damage in an entire wing of the school. But assessments by two private teams of structural engineers last Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning determined that the original assessment had errors.
But teachers and staff claim there is damage throughout the school, not just one wing, including fallen ceiling tiles and fiberglass insulation that pose health hazards.
"We are concerned about the health of the faculty and staff as well as the students," said Karen McIntosh, the American Federation of Teachers representative at the school.
The AFT also cited a Department of Health report that mentions the fiberglass problem.
Senate President Vargrave Richards, a former teacher and AFT officer, toured Elena Christian on Monday and agreed with the report.
"If (the Department of Education) got the various resources down here, maybe they could have started (Tuesday)," Richards said. "Some of these things can be remedied in short course."
Parents of children who attend the school planned a protest Tuesday morning.

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