Rush to rehouse pupils as rooms shut for safety

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 12:00 12/09/2012

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Seven classrooms at a Dannevirke school have been closed amid concerns about the safety of the building housing them.

A routine inspection of Block A of Dannevirke South School raised serious concerns about the building's roof, principal Stephen Snell said.

"Block A has seven classrooms and it's also our total administration area, our teacher resourcing area and it's also our library. That whole area is now closed."

The inspection was carried out by a structural engineer on Friday. With more than 200 students without a classroom, staff spent the weekend making alternative plans.

Parents of children in some classrooms were being asked to keep their kids at home today while students were also being accommodated in the school hall and the remaining classrooms.

"We had 210 children who suddenly didn't have a classroom, Monday was really difficult for staff, they had to accommodate them in the hall for long periods and it was a wet, miserable day," Mr Snell said.

It was "too early" to talk about what would happen to Block A as options were still being investigated, he said.

In the meantime up to three classrooms will be housed in the school's hall while others are being reallocated to different classrooms. Mr Snell said negotiations were also under way with another school for up to 80 of South School's students to be taught off-site.

Portacoms were being brought in to house the administration area.

"This is a massive upheaval for not only the kids, but teachers too."

Mr Snell said the affected block was closed to all students, with controlled access for teachers and other staff to remove "essential equipment".

"Once that's done that block will be totally closed."

Parents are being kept informed through daily newsletters, the school website and email. A public meeting will be held in the school hall tomorrow at 5.30pm. "All of the feedback we've got [from parents] has been positive and thanking us for how we've dealt with this," Mr Snell said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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