Strong Odor at Flinn Elementary Has Parents Concerned

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SISSONVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Flinn Elementary was back in session after flooding kept the school closed Tuesday.

A strong odor greeted parents and students at the door Wednesday morning, which raised concern.

"Me and another parent experienced watery eyes," concerned parent Julie McCollam said. "One of the other teachers had talked about her throat being dry and coughing."

The smell had nothing to do with the flood or the backed-up storm drain, but it had everything to do with the cleanup.

"Very first thing this morning before students came in the glue had been laid to place the tiles over it," Principal Beth Scott said. "That did have a bit of a strong odor, but once students came into the building this morning that odor had disappeared and it's no longer a concern."

Toxic fumes from the glue used to tile floors was laid down and had parents fuming about the safety of their kids.

"The odor did not go away when the kids arrived because I take my child in at 7:30," McCollam said. "School starts at 7:50, and at 7:30 it was overwhelming."

The two classrooms damaged by flood waters were being tiled, with maintenance crews working quickly to put the school back together.

All of the first-graders were relocated to the library.

"The students have plenty of room in there," Scott said. "It's very comfortable for them and their teachers."

"It's still not an ideal situation when you have 50 children crammed into one classroom trying to learn and be educated properly," McCollam said.

"There wasn't any real danger or threat to the children, so there was no reason why we shouldn't have school today," Superintendent Ron Duerring said. "Every day we cancel, that's one day less that they get that perhaps in another school district they're getting."

That has made for a delicate balance between safety and education.

Scott says she wants to make sure the students get their 180 days of instruction before the end of the year.

WEST-Test testing also is going on this week for grades three through five.

First-grade students at Flinn will be back in the library Thursday as desks and other items are moved back into classrooms.

On Friday, all students will be in their normal classrooms.

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