Water issue hurting First Hill All-Age
Operations at First Hill All-Age School in Jackson Town, Trelawny, are being undermined by a severe water shortage caused by frequent dry spells. The situation is negatively impacting the maintenance of proper hygiene at the school.
During a recent visit to the school by the WESTERN STAR, the teachers complained about the dire water problems, pointing out that the school's taps would sometimes run dry for several months, much to their inconvenience.
The teachers said that they are sometimes forced to suspend classes because of a lack of water, a decision which may have an adverse impact on the education of the approximately 200 students enrolled at the school.
"Most times, if we have no water we have to dismiss school in the afternoon at a certain period," said Shawnet Drown-Tyrall, a grade-six teacher, who is now preparing her students to sit the Grade Six Achievement Test next year. "So students' education is being affected when there is no water."
NOT ENOUGH WATER
According to the teachers, the National Water Commission (NWC) would truck water to the school on occasions, but the amount that has been supplied does not last long. Also, in the cases when the NWC trucks are not available, the school, which is already strapped for cash, is forced to buy water from a private truck for approximately $12,000 per load.
In regard to the water in their pipes, the teachers say the school is usually among the last places to get water after a disruption ends.
"The water will come on a Friday afternoon and by Tuesday midday it is gone. If the pressure is low, then we (at the school) won't get any water, because the people in the community are going to start catching theirs," said Drown-Tyrall. "So, by the time they are finished catching water, they (the authorities) turn it back off on the Tuesday."
Homes in the community of Jackson Town are also undergoing a similar distress caused by the frequent on-and-off flow of water in the taps.
Errol Dyer, former principal of First Hill All-Age, told the WESTERN STAR that in the past, the community had a constant supply of water. However, he said everything changed some 10 years ago. He has joined the school and residents in appealing to the NWC to remedy the situation of water shortage facing Jackson Town.