WEST ORANGE, NJ - School is beginning on time today for the children attending Mt. Pleasant Elementary School following a day in which there was some flooding and sewage issues at the school.
According to Mt. Pleasant School Principal Julie DiGiacomo, the incident happened on Wednesday during lunch time. She said it is believed that a paper towel clog started the problem in Ali Fazio’s kindergarten class. Water then seeped out of the room, into the hallway and computer lab, she said.
“None of the kids were in the area when it happened,” said DiGiacomo. “We didn’t let the kids in grades kindergarten to third back into that area. Grade three stayed in the library, grade two shared rooms with grade four and grade one went into the fifth grade classrooms. The kindergarteners spent the rest of the day in the gym."
DiGiacomo added that the children also used the playground on a rotation during the incident.
While a few parents were not happy that the children were not sent home because “the school smelled and due to all of the water on the lower grades’ floor,” DiGiacomo said that Superintendent Jeffrey Rutzky, whom she called immediately, was at the school, spoke with the plumbers and determined that the children didn’t have to be evacuated.
DiGiacomo added that her school’s evacuation plan would have required the kids to be bused to Liberty Middle School and shared that Rutzky had the Transportation Department standing by in case he had to make that call.
“By the time Mr. Rutzky arrived and assessed the situation, most of the areas were dry,” she said.
“I think it was handled well,” she said. “If I had nowhere else to put the children, I would have removed them, but we were able to move them to the different classes and play areas, so it all worked out.” She attributed the nice day out as being helpful.
DiGiacomo added that there would be a cleaning crew at the school into the night for disinfection.
“It was an exciting afternoon,” she said. “It was definitely a different way to end the day.”
Editor’s Note: Mt. Pleasant parents received a call at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday informing them that the school had been disinfected and that school would begin on time.