Schools close and now wait

Published 10:29 am Thursday, May 18, 2017

So close to the end of the school year, all Vicksburg Warren School District schools and offices were forced to close early Wednesday, and will remain closed through the end of the week, due to the city’s water outage.

Superintendent Chad Shealy said nine of the district’s 16 schools were impacted by the outage.

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“We are probably going to be out Monday too, but we are not going to make that call until we know,” Shealy said. “Sunday we are going to talk with [the city] and see if there are additional days needed.”

In a press conference Wednesday, Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said the city will be without water for at least five days.

After the broken main is repaired, it will take approximately 24 hours for pressure to return to the system. Once pressure is returned, there will be an estimated two-day period during which the city will be under a boil water notice.

“Hopefully, they will get it fixed and Monday will be a lets get the pressure back up and Tuesday we can roll,” Shealy said.

“We can handle the boil water notice. We can cook, we can clean, we can do everything we need to do with freshwater that is potable that we can bring up here,” he said. “The problem comes about when you have hundreds of students that have to use the restroom, and if you can’t flush a toilet you can’t have school.”

The last official school day for the year is May 25, which may play into the district’s decision on when, if at all, to reopen schools next week.

“We are going to talk to our principals and see how many more tests need to be taken, or loose ends need to be shored up with the students they have, and make a plan,” Shealy said. “We really, with the board meeting [Wednesday], we haven’t had a whole lot of decision making other than to shut it down for two days.”

The school board has the ability to close schools for up to 10 days that students will not have to make up without receiving a waiver from the state. The district has used the option in the past Shealy said.

The school district’s window to complete state testing, which originally was scheduled to close Friday, has been extended Shealy said.

No decision has been made on field trips and other activities that were scheduled through the end of the school year.