COVID cleaners in hazmat suits spotted in Education building
Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Has COVID-19 hit the Ministry of Education?
Professional cleaners covered from head to toe in hazmat suits and masks were spotted outside of the Ministry of Education headquarters, sending scared employees into a tailspin. Employees fear someone who works in the building tested positive for COVID-19 but officials are trying to cover it up.
"We had a coworker who tested positive for Corona and they are lying to us, saying that is not true," said an employee, who questioned,"If it is not true what are the people doing here to sterilize this place?"
Professional cleaners were seen adjusting their cleaning gear to ensure they were completely covered before entering the building on Thompson Boulevard and employees caught the whole thing on camera.
"Education is full of them...We already have five upstairs sterilizing the building and they want us to stay in this?"
"We cannot stay in this. Look here. They are protecting themselves before they come in. They are protecting themselves and they are leaving us in here like this? This is not right."
"You think this is right, now? We have family to go home to, we have young kids to go home to, we have grandchildren to go home to. What about us?"
The workers were seen entering the building with tools, including buckets and ladders. Even the security guard stopped to record them on his phone.
Unions representing employees in the Ministry of Education have been agitating for weeks for a meeting with senior education officials to discuss employees' concerns about their safety in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a June 29 letter to Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary, Bahamas Educators Managerial Union Secretary General Zane Lightbourne pointed out that the union has yet to be consulted by the ministry on new working protocols and no safety training has taken place. The BEMU requested an air quality test at headquarters, the distribution of work protection and safety gear and for a meeting on July 3 to discuss further concerns.That meeting never happened.
However, he received a flippant response from the PS, who insisted "the MOE is in no way disinterested in the safety and wellbeing of its staff" and the ministry is in no position to debate standards put in place for the entire country.
The BEMU is the latest union to speak out on behalf of public servants who are tired of being ignored as they seek direction during this health crisis. Workers have complained it is impossible to practice social distancing in cramped spaces.