CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County students are scheduled to return to class Tuesday for the first time since the water emergency and they will be greeted with bottled water.
“A lot of the people have a lot of questions about the water,” Kanawha County School Board President Pete Thaw said. “So we’re going to be using bottled water the first week.”
The concern is connected with the recent nine-county water emergency that began when a tank owned by Freedom Industries leaked 7,500 gallons of crude MCHM into the Elk River just upstream from West Virginia American Water Company’s Kanawha Valley Plant.
Thaw said the schools have been properly flushed and are ready to go.
“The health department has okayed each and every school but we want to use bottled water the first week. If there are still questions we’ll stick with the bottled water,” he said.
The state Department of Education said schools throughout the nine-county region will be doing the same thing.
“Right now the public has a lot of questions, let’s face it,” Thaw said.
Students in Kanawha, Boone and parts of Putnam, Lincoln, Cabell and Clay counties have missed six days of class because of the water emergency.
“Sure I’m concerned,” Thaw said about the days missed. “I’m concerned that we have irresponsible people dumping poison into the water too. We couldn’t put the children in those schools.”
The decision on whether the days missed will have to be made up will come from state School Superintendent Dr. Jim Phares. He said his decision will be made after the full impact of winter weather is known on the school systems.