Robert Service School in Dawson City will be a bit more full this school year after two of the school’s portables were decommissioned due to mould discovered in July. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Robert Service School loses portables to mould ahead of the new school year

Programs won’t be interrupted

The only two portables at Robert Service School have been decommissioned because of mould.

“They’re done,” said Chris Stacey, superintendent for the Dawson City school.

“There were no signs of mould until a worker cut into a wall or ceiling. It was in the best interest of everybody, as a precaution, to take those classrooms out right away.”

Classes, which start later this month, will go ahead, Stacey said.

The two programs housed in the portables, one for students requiring individualized supports and the Individual Learning Centre, will be moved into the school.

Roughly 15 students make up these programs.

“This is going to be on a short-term basis,” said Stacey, noting that a community meeting is planned next month.

It’s unclear at this point what the long-term plans are.

The mould was discovered in July during renovation work, Stacey said.

“Soon after it began, it was discovered there was mould in the classroom. We’re just working as fast as possible and just had to make a quick decision.”

A letter sent to the school and signed by Stacey says that the Yukon Department of Education committed to upgrading the portables and that it was in the cards to follow through with this in time for the upcoming school year.

“This was not an issue we anticipated,” it says. An apology to the community follows.

For more than two years the Yukon Party has been trying to get the Liberals to act on bringing new or additional portables to the school, said education critic Scott Kent.

“We heard concerns from parents in the community,” he said, adding that they were brought to the floor of the legislative assembly in 2017.

“They (the Liberals) seem to drag their feet and not take any action. We’re in this unfortunate position right now where there’s a loss of learning space.”

While the safety of students is of course the priority, said Kent, seasonally-dependent contracts should have been tendered in March so that portables could have been ready in time.

“There’s nothing more seasonal than having something ready for the school year. For this to be found so late in the game and essentially giving 11 days notice for the parents with respect to the loss of these learning spaces shows the Liberals and the Department of Education have dropped the ball on getting tenders out …” he said.

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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