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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Teachers Assn. to governor: Call out National Guard to fix storm-damaged schools

Over a week after the passage of Hurricane Fiona, Puerto Rico Teachers Association officials said, the situation in island public schools has worsened, especially in the south.

By The Star Staff

The leadership of the Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR by its Spanish initials) is demanding that Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia activate the National Guard to provide assistance urgently needed at schools damaged by Hurricane Fiona.

“We are demanding that the [Education] secretary and governor activate the National Guard so that our campuses, once and for all, are in optimal condition,” said Ángel Javier Pérez Hernández, the general secretary of the AMPR-Local Union (AMPR-LS) at a press conference earlier this week.

Pérez Hernández said the shortage of personnel in the Office for the Improvement of Public Schools (OMEP) and the Public Buildings Authority made it impossible for schools to be 100% suitable. Over a week after the passage of Hurricane Fiona, they said the situation has worsened, especially in schools in the south.

“The governor should put his actions where he put his word when he declared a state of emergency to address the conditioning and repair of the schools of the public school system in Puerto Rico, on February 16, 2021,” Pérez Hernández said. “We ask that what is stated in the executive order be complied with, and we cite: the use of an expeditious and emergency process to make the necessary purchases and to contract and manage the work that is necessary to condition the schools that will be opening. In addition, we request that the work be carried out during the weekends or on holidays to avoid the interruption of classes, and that a report of accountability be made public in which the results of this order are presented.”

Meanwhile, another AMPR-LS official, Melissa Padilla Ponce de León, called on Education Secretary Eliezer Ramos Parés and his staff to “stop the outrageous and bad practice of sending communications to teachers during the nighttime hours.”

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