By Seth Daniel
Chelsea school officials reported this week that repairs on two major broken pipes under the foundation of the school – the nexus of a fly infestation that caused school to end more than a week early this month ahead of Winter Break – have been completed.
Clean up measures are now taking place and students will be able to return to a completely fly-less learning environment next week.
“I am happy to report that our construction activities to repair two collapsed pipes located under Chelsea High School are complete as of December 28 and the school will re-open on January 4, 2017,” Supt. Mary Bourque said this week. “All floors of the school will be thoroughly cleaned prior to school opening. As previously reported, after a complete video inspection of the school’s drainage system, four pipes were found to have collapsed or had separated from the plumbing system due to corrosion. Two drain pipes can be taken out of service and have been capped. The two collapsed pipes were replaced.”
She added that the entire length of drain pipe servicing the kitchen had been lined with fiberglass to strengthen the drain line. Hangers were also used in the new pipes to prevent standing water inside of those new pipes.
Bourque said she planned to send an official letter to parents, guardians, staff and students prior to the return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 4. Students missed seven days of school at the end of Winter Break – including all of last week – due to a situation where flies inundated the school and the source could not be readily found nor repaired.
For the cleanup, Bourque told the Record it was important to note that there are no chemicals involved in getting rid of the flies.
“In terms of eradicating the flies, we are not using any chemicals,” she said. “They are using electric black lights to zap the bugs and sticky paper too. So, they are using environmentally sound methods to get rid of the flies.”
Bourque said she mostly wanted to thank the professionals who fixed the problem and the community for being patient in an completely unanticipated problem.
“I want to thank our Facilities Management staff, our in-house engineers, Jacobs Facilities, and our private contractors’ team for excellent work in diagnosing and correcting this problem, as well as to thank our parents, students, and staff for the patience and understanding over the past two weeks,” she said.