Associated Press Published

More Kanawha Co. School Closures Due to Water Concerns


Even more Kanawha County schools have canceled classes because of an odor resembling the chemical that spilled into a regional water system last month.
West Virginia Department of Education spokeswoman Liza Cordeiro says Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring directed J.E. Robins Elementary School in Charleston to close Thursday morning as a precautionary measure.

Updated on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 4:30:

Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring released the following statement:

Tests were conducted by the West Virginia National Guard in the three Kanawha County Schools which were dismissed early today because of reported odor issues in the schools. Results from all three schools ( J.E. Robins, Overbrook and Watts) came back as non-detect.   In consultation with the Kanawha – Charleston Health Department officials, the Governor’s Office, National Guard, and the West Virginia Department of Education the decision was made to keep schools open.    Kanawha County Schools have followed all flushing protocols and in many cases have gone beyond requirements in an effort to ensure student safety. We also continue to provide bottled water, cook with bottled water, and make available hand sanitizer.  In addition, all schools in the county were tested last week and all were reported at the non-detect level.

More from our original post at Thursday, February 6 at 12:00 p.m.

Cordeiro says she was told that a cook at J.E. Robnbins Elementary was using a dishwasher when the smell began. Both the cook and a custodian reported burning eyes.

She says the school plans to do more flushing and water testing.

The West Virginia Department of Education also announced the closures of two other schools due to water concerns:


Cordeiro says last week’s testing at J.E. Robbins, Watts, and Overbrook came back as a “non-detect.” Testing will continue at these three schools.

Riverside High and Midland Elementary remained closed Thursday. Both schools canceled classes Wednesday morning because of the licorice smell. Cordeiro also notes that testing  on Wednesday at Riverside High and Midland Elementary yielded non-detected levels of MCHM on Thursday.

Cordeiro says the school system continues to work with the local health department and West Virginia National Guard.

The Jan. 9 spill  spurred a nine-county water use ban for days.