Members of a Health and Safety Task Force Committee are visiting Alethriko elementary on Wednesday, a Larnaca district school where last month 10-year-old Stavros Georgallis got injured and whose death hours later was shrouded in controversy and allegations of incompetence.
Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris called for the formation of a special task force committee two weeks after the tragic accident, saying experts would evaluate a number of issues in schools, including whether paramedics should be stationed on school premises as well as identifying problem areas both in structural and human resources.
Knews understands that the committee’s mission is not connected to an ongoing probe into Stavros’ death, with the internal investigation remaining incomplete to this day and the committee scrambling to prepare an action plan for September’s back-to-school.
A health ministry probe also revealed possible medical negligence which led to the arrest of two doctors, following a decision during Stavros’ initial visit to the Emergency Room to discharge the boy into his mother’s care without ever consulting with the radiologist on duty.
Education ministry probe still open
Another subject of an investigation was the teacher in charge of gym class, when the boy reportedly fell and struck his head on concrete while playing basketball.
Media sources say a deposition is still needed from the teacher, who is reportedly consulting with a legal attorney and has yet to answer questions or give his take on what had happened on May 11.
Union teachers also had weighed in on the case, criticising Hambiaouris for the way he handled the investigation and condemning leaks to the press regarding the educator’s problematic past with a record of questionable transfers.
Special task force committee
The head of the health and safety committee, Elias Markatzis, told daily Phileleftheros that his team is tasked with codifying all issues that were discussed recently, listing three main areas of action.
The first part would be for the committee to examine possible structural risks stemming from buildings and other factors, which ought to be a concern to all educators and administrators.
Markatzis highlighted the need for school principals to notify authorities about specific problems
The next stage would be to act on identifiable risks in order to eliminate them, according to Markatzis, and finally the third part has to do with what procedures followed when an accident occurs.
Stavros’ school was criticised for not having a specific protocol in place to respond to the emergency, however it was not immediately clear whether a general action plan for all public schools could have addressed the situation.
Markatzis highlighted the need for school principals to notify authorities about specific problems, saying he might send a letter to all schools regarding this issue.
He said he hoped a workable action plan would be ready in September, when students get back to school.