St. Croix elementary school relocates to junior high due to mysterious illness

Starting Tuesday, Alexander Henderson Elementary students will have a new home.

They’ll be joining students at the new Arthur A. Richards Junior High School.

Parents were alerted to the change during an emergency meeting Friday, March 1.

The Department of Health Territorial Epidemiologist Dr. Esther Ellis recommended the immediate closure of Henderson to safeguard students and staff from an unknown contaminant causing illness.

Symptoms included diarrhea, nausea, stomachaches, and vomiting.

A brief orientation for families will be held on Tuesday when they arrive at 7:55 a.m.

Parents and students will then tour the section of the campus that will house Henderson students and staff.

According to a release from the VI Department of Education, Alexander Henderson Principal Natasha O’Halloran-Smith stressed to concerned parents that there would be no co-mingling of the junior high and elementary students.

School monitors and support staff will ensure the adequate supervision of students throughout the day.

The Henderson school site will become a pick-up point for students who currently walk to school.

Buses will pick students up at 7:00 a.m. and transport them to the Arthur Richards’ campus.

The school day begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and instruction at 7:55 a.m.

The Arthur A. Richards Jr. High School’s new modular campus can hold up to 800 students.

Currently, the enrollment at Richards is at 272; and 319 at Henderson, respectively.

The Department of Education is working alongside the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and the Department of Health, and their supporting agencies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to identify and address environmental hazards at the Henderson facility.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Relations at (340) 774-0100, ext. 8136.