Salmon Arm  

Strange smell closes school

A Sicamous elementary school has been temporarily closed on the advice of Interior Health.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District says in a press release that operations have been suspended at Parkview Elementary after a mysterious and unpleasant odour has filled the halls.

"On the advice of Interior Health, and to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff, School District No. 83 has made the decision to suspend operations at Parkview Elementary in Sicamous until further notice," the school district says.

“We apologize for any inconvenience and anxiety that these changes will cause our students and parents, and we thank you for your patience as we work through this challenge,” said School Supt. Peter Jory.

Parkview’s classes will be kept together and moved to temporary locations until the source of the smell can be found and rectified.

Students will be in their temporary locations by Wednesday.

Letters have gone home to all affected parents and a meeting will be held with parents, 7 p.m. Monday at Eagle River Secondary to answer any questions or concerns.

Parents are asked to keep their children home Monday and Tuesday, as classrooms are packed up and moved. The youngest students will stay closest to home and the other five divisions will be transported to the next closest schools with available space, the district says. The plan is as follows:

• Move four K-2 divisions to Eagle River Secondary
• Move two Gr. 2-3 divisions to North Canoe
• Move three Gr. 4-6 divisions to South Canoe

"Over the past two weeks there has been an unpleasant and musty odour in the west wing of the school. School and district staff as well as outside consultants have worked hard to locate the source, but at this point the cause is still unknown. Many steps were taken to protect students and staff from the odour, including moving all operations to the east wing of the school with the west wing being closed and fitted with a vapour barrier and positive air pressure used to keep the smell out. But, with still no known cause, it was determined it would be best to suspend activities at the school," the district said in its press release.

Investigation will continue to determine the cause of the problem, and samples have been taken from the school walls. The district is awaiting results of those tests. 

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