Air quality from mold forces school district to close for day

      HARRISBURG, Ore. - A week after a snow that kept students out of school for a week, students will again miss classes Thursday.

      A broken water pipe flooded the Harrisburg Elementary School cafeteria.

      Now air quality issues related to fighting mold in the soaked structure have forced Harrisburg schools to cancel K-12 classes on Thursday, December 19, the district said Wednesday.

      "This unfortunate turn of events precludes us from offering food services to our students," the district said in a statement. "Thus, all K-12 classes will be canceled for tomorrow. Athletic practices and events will continue as regularly scheduled. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep you informed accordingly."

      On Thursday, the school released the following statement about the situation:

      The Harrisburg School District is diligently working to ensure safe air quality in all school district buildings. Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our students and staff.

      District efforts in this regard are currently focused on abating the presence of mold discovered following the recent broken water pipe and flooding incident in Harrisburg Elementary School Building Number 2 which houses 4 classrooms as well as our cafeteria and kitchen facilities. The kitchen housed in this building prepares meals for the entire district. At this time, the district is unaware of any food products stored there which may have been adversely impacted.

      Recent developments related to this unfortunate turn of events have forced us to temporarily close the kitchen, thus precluding our ability to provide food services K-12. This consideration, along with the desire to safeguard students and staff from any possible ill effects related to the mold abatement process, engendered the decision to cancel all K-12 classes for today. Athletic practices and events will continue as regularly scheduled.

      At all times, the District will continue to proceed with student and staff safety as our foremost concern. We are also concerned about the loss of instructional time and will take all appropriate measures to rectify that deficiency.

      We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep the community informed.

      We regret any inconvenience which this situation may have caused. We thank the community for their patience and support.