Weather education

Continued cold weather finally got to Rappahannock County Elementary School Monday morning (Jan. 27). Facilities director Jimmy Swindler told the school board at its meeting Tuesday that the school’s main boiler “did what it was supposed to” early last Saturday morning and shut itself off after detecting “a small oil leak.”

By the time the system was checked on early Monday morning, with outdoor temperatures in the 20s, it had been off for more than a day.

Swindler said the maintenance staff was able to use the second boiler to heat the elementary school and keep it open, but added that he was investigating the installation of a better alert system (the system had failed to notify school employees of the weekend shutdown).

The next morning wasn’t much of an improvement at RCES, Swindler said. Despite being on a two-hour delay, the school sent students home at 1:30 p.m. after a well pump stopped working and the school ran out of water. Swindler said he’d discovered sensors at the bottom of the 10,000-gallon tank (which are supposed to alert personnel when the water level gets dangerously low) had frozen and weren’t working. The sensors have since been thawed, Swindler said.

School was canceled Wednesday due to snow and cold temperatures.