Initial reports that Monday’s evacuation of GMS students resulted from a broken sewage system in terms of creating an excrement smell at the school turned out to be inaccurate.
After the full evacuation of the student population of near 600 to nearby Eagle River High School, district officials determined the overpowering odor within the building resulted from a maintenance employee using a drain cleaner to unclog a drain in the art room. This according to Heidi Embley, ASD communications director.
“The drain cleaner used was very strong and caused an odor throughout the building,” Embley told the ECHO News via email Tuesday morning. “In an abundance of caution for student and staff safety, the school was evacuated until more information could be obtained. It was decided to release the students for the day to give time for the building to air out.”
On Tues., March 7, students returned to class as normal.
“All is fine,” Embley wrote.
The district sent out a robo phone call to parents shortly after 9 a.m. on Mon., March 6, asking them to pick their students up at ERHS as soon as possible. Parents were required to show identification before students were released. Embley said that most students were picked up long before the end of the school day. Approximately 30 middle school students remained on the high school campus until after school busing transported them home.