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Orange County schools get off to rough start, but restart in Louisa goes smoothly
BY ROBIN KNEPPER
Orange County's eight schools got off to a rough start yesterday after being delayed a week because of earthquake damage.
Principal Kim Crandall evacuated the new Locust Grove Elementary and Middle School at 7:20 a.m. because of a smell coming from the floor drain in the nurses' office bathroom.
It turned out to be methane backed up from the sewer line, said Lake of the Woods Fire Capt. Jim Kerley. It was eliminated by running water down the drain.
But the closure had a domino effect, delaying school buses that were delivering middle-school students and which then had to leave to pick up elementary and primary students. School starts were delayed an hour or more.
"Many of our youngest children had to wait because they were already at the bus stops when we sent out an alert," said Superintendent Bob Grimesey. "We had some unhappy customers this morning."
A weekend storm apparently caused the air-conditioning at Locust Grove Primary School to shut down, but that was taken care of by maintenance staff, Grimesey said.
There were also some system-wide problems for Orange County as it welcomed 4,914 students to its eight schools.
The storm is being blamed for the breakdown of the internal phone system and the computer network.
"Technical difficulties cause a lot of inconvenience," Grimesey said, "but the students and teachers came to school with such good attitudes. We hope the second day of school will be better."
Louisa County, which lost two of its six schools as a result of the earthquake, restarted school yesterday with about 4,500 students, according to Superintendent Deborah Pettit.
"We're getting back to normal," she said. "I went into every school building today and can report that the students are as happy as can be, and are glad to be back with their teachers. They're doing just fine."
School had opened on Aug. 15 in Louisa County and students were in classes when the magnitude-5.8 earthquake struck on Aug. 23. Six students suffered minor injuries and all six county schools were closed.