What kind of lessons are being drawn by Tisbury school children who, two weeks before school is scheduled to start, are being told that the building they’ve occupied 180 days a year is unsafe? That they need to go elsewhere to school because administrators have failed for years to fix known problems with chipping lead paint?

School administrators surely didn’t need to wait until mid-August for the state Department of Public Health to tell them the conditions at the 90-year-old school were hazardous. If they didn’t believe the many complaints over the years from teachers and parents, they could have read the assessment done in 2017 at the direction of the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Even a simple glance at the crumbling walls, sagging ceilings and peeling radiators would have been a good clue.

Instead, in the waning days of summer, they have delivered a hasty plan to delay the start of school a week, then outsource the kids to other locations while overdue remediation work is being done. Lower grades will be housed at Camp Jabberwocky, while upper grades will set up temporary camp at the regional high school — a facility that is also crumbling after years of deferred maintenance.

Oddly, the Tisbury School merited barely a mention in an open letter to the Island community from superintendent Dr. Matthew D’Andrea that was released to Island newspapers hours before the school committee announced the disruptive changes. 

Mr. D’Andrea, who attended the school committee meeting Wednesday and had to have known about what was happening at the Tisbury School when he penned his letter, wrote only that “the Tisbury School took steps to ensure our students have a healthy learning environment.”

Meanwhile, plans for a new school in Tisbury have been stymied by political gridlock for the past two years, while teachers, children and their parents pay the price.

Teachers now need to move quickly to create classrooms in two makeshift locations. The school principal and assistant principal will split their duties between the two temporary sites.

And working parents — who undoubtedly make up the vast majority of the school parent community — are left to explain this all to their children and scramble for child care arrangements for an extra week. At best, this is a shameful lack of planning. At worst, it is a lesson in incompetence the children won’t soon forget.