80.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, April 20, 2024


Addelita Cancryn Junior High School will be closed half day on Friday so that work may begin on repairs to water pipes. The decision came in a meeting Thursday afternoon between teachers and administrators after teachers at Cancryn staged a sit-in Thursday to protest the conditions they face at the school, no water and only two working bathrooms for upwards of 1,500 students and staff.
Roy Simmonds, spokesperson for the teachers, said that the lack of water due to the Water and Power Authority's problems with its desalination units "exacerbated" the already abysmal conditions at the school.
"This is not a new situation," said Cancryn teacher Gloria Sanes-Lindquist. "This has been going on for three days."
She added that "the only working toilets for the whole school are in the faculty lounge -— and they haven't been flushing." The students have been bringing drinking water from home.
In response to criticism from Rosalia Payne, insular superintendent of schools, that the teachers acted irresponsibly in abandoning their classrooms, Simmonds said, "It's the only way to get anything done — when there's a crisis."
Sanes-Lindquist says her classes in child care have not been affected as much as Laverne C. Blyden's home economics classes. Blyden has had to take water from her precious supply at home in order to run her cooking lab, according to Lindquist.
"How do you make johnny-cakes with no water?"
Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds was off-island and could not be reached for comment.
Other schools are suffering from a lack of water too.
Kirwan Terrace Elementary School is conducting classes, but "we have to flush toilets with buckets," according to an employee who answered the phone at the school.
"We don't have potable water, but we do have a cistern," the unidentified employee said. "But I guess we don't have a pump on the cistern that will work for the toilets."
It was reported that students at Cancryn were urinating in hallways and classrooms.
Lindquist said, "The stench is almost unbearable."
Ruby Simmonds, commissioner of Education was unavailable for comment. A receptionist in her office said the commissioner was in St. Croix but aware of the situation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.