TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Kirsten Rogers in Susan Wright’s Grade 1-2 class at Green Acres School works on an assignment while wearing her winter jacket on Tuesday after the school’s heating system malfunctioned. Industrial heaters were set up throughout the school to help keep the temperatures tolerable.
Bundled up in parkas and toques, students at Green Acres School made the best of a chilly situation as the school dealt with a heating system breakdown.
Green Acres School student Mahlet Mengistu plays in gym class while wearing her winter jacket and toque, while Owen Haight sports a toque and a hoodie on Tuesday.
(TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Students walk to class past a portable heater at Green Acres School on Tuesday after the school’s heating system malfunctioned. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Students stay bundled up in class at Green Acres School on Tuesday. (JILLIAN AUSTIN/BRANDON SUN)
It was the second day the east-end school had no heat. On Monday afternoon, students were sent home because it was too cold.
Industrial heaters were brought in overnight, and the school was open Tuesday, but it was at the parents’ discretion whether their child attended.
"A crew … frantically set up a bunch of heaters (Monday) and were working on the boiler at the same time," said principal Craig Manson, "but knew that they weren’t going to quite be able to get it going."
Industrial heaters lined the halls, and each classroom had its own heater. Manson said the temperature rose enough to open the school Tuesday. About 70 per cent of the K-8 school were in attendance.
It was the first time in Manson’s 42 years in the Brandon School Division that he dealt with a school closure due to a heater breakdown.
"I know it happens periodically where the heating system fails, a couple of rough days for schools," he said. "It’s happened in the past, but not in my case."
Green Acres utilized a call system over the noon hour Monday to let parents know of the school closure.
"Everybody got contacted … and we probably cleared the school within 30 minutes," he said. "The system worked well."
In addition to the phone calls, alerts were put on Twitter, the school division’s website, as well as the Green Acres website.
For some parents, like Charleen Rowson, it was an inconvenience to have to come get their kids two days in a row.
"It’s not good when I have to keep missing work to come and pick my kids up from school," she said.
Rowson’s second-grade daughter called over the noon hour Tuesday to be picked up due to the cold. However, her fifth-grade son wanted to stay.
"They left (Monday) afternoon as well. I thought maybe the heat would be fixed, otherwise I probably would have just kept them home (Tuesday)," she said.
The heater was back up and running by Tuesday afternoon, and classes will continue as usual today.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 22, 2014