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Sewage Contamination Leads To Closure Of High School In Westchester

New Rochelle High School
New Rochelle High School Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Burtonrubin

Students at a Westchester high school will be displaced for at least a month after suffering water damage and contamination from sewer water that backed up into the building during the recent round of storms.

It could take until November for the New Rochelle High School to reopen after substantial damage was found following Tropical Depression Ida, which wreaked havoc on the city and region last week.

Officials said during a remote town hall meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8 that the plan moving forward is to seal off the areas hit hardest by the storm - the library, athletic, and pool areas - to allow for the high school to reopen in late October or early November.

In response to the storm, students began the year with distance learning, though Superintendent Jonathan Raymond said that the district is seeking other locations for in-person classes until the school can be reopened for students.

Other options being considered are the potential use of tents or trailers to have students congregate following more than a year of COVID-19-related difficulties, though the district lacks the space to install the number of trailers needed for the entire student body.

Breakfast and lunch options during the cleanup efforts will be “grab and go” with locations outside the cafeteria.

Raymond said he has held multiple conversations, visiting two potential sites on Wednesday, Sept. 8, with three visits planned for Thursday, Sept. 9.

“At New Rochelle High School, several efforts continue. As mentioned in earlier reports, work in the library continues,” Raymond said to the community. “Crews were again on site assessing moisture levels and determining the amount of asbestos that will need to be removed by specialized crews.

“Moisture removal via scrubbing and purification machines continues as well, and a range of other assessments are taking place every day,” he continued. “Those reviews, including identifying which materials and equipment are needed, are critical to finalizing the scope and timeline for returning the high school to in-person teaching and learning.”

This is a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.

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