Kanawha Co. Schools Still Closed as Bans are Lifted in Zones

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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Schools are still closed on Wednesday, as "do not use" zones continue to be lifted from the water ban.

You can count the number of days on one hand kids in Kanawha County have been in school since Christmas break, and now the number has the potential to grow.

Students have been out of school since Friday, after a chemical leak was reported in Kanawha County on Thursday and parts of nine counties were put under a state of emergency.

After schools flush their systems, they have to be inspected by the health department.

Dr. Rahul Gupta said, "That's the most vulnerable population amongst us and we have to make sure that those equipment and facilities are safe before our kids can go back to school."

It's a process that's taking days and it's still not done.

There was a miscommunication, and somewhere along the lines some Kanawha County Schools started flushing before the ban was lifted in their zone.

"We were told in the beginning that once we were given the okay for the first zone lifted that schools and hospitals were exempt and schools could go ahead and flush," Superintendent Ron Duerring, says.

Piedmont Elementary was given the OK by the health department.

Principal Beth Sturgill says, "Buildings have been cleaned. Dishes have been washed. I think we're ready to go here."

Inspectors also gave the go-ahead at Malden Elementary School, but each and every school has to be ready across the county before any can reopen.

"Ive had a lot of concerned parents ask if my child will be drinking the water or if their food will be cooked in the water," Dr. Gupta said.

Water fountains will also stay shut off until the county decides it's safe for students to drink from them. Students willl be provided with bottled water once schools do reopen.

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