School officials canceled classes for the rest of the week after traces of E. coli bacteria were found in the drinking water of a school in Windham.
Superintendent Patricia Garcia made the announcement about Windham Center School on Tuesday afternoon. Final tests results showed that the bacteria was found in the water.
Garcia sent a letter home to alert parents on Monday about test results from the Windham Center School on North Road.
"Our priority is that all of our students are safe, healthy and successful at Windham Center School, and we are making every effort to resolve this situation and keep our students learning without disruption," Garcia wrote.
E. Coli is a bacteria that can cause severe stomach pain and in the most serious cases, death. Garcia said the school has taken a number of steps to deal with the problem.
Drinking fountains were shut off and bottled water was provided to students on Tuesday. The cafeteria staff's meal preparation did not include water. Food will be served with disposable dishes and utensils.
"One of the reasons is because we are waiting for the final result and we have taken precautionary measures," Garcia said.
Garcia said the decision to close the school was made after she talked with officials from the local health department.
"I can tell you as a superintendent, no one wants to close school the second day of school," Garcia said. "We want all kids at school, but the first step is the safety of our children and that comes first."
The school relies on well water, but health officials have not determined the source of the E. Coli. If it's contaminated, it may take two to three days to clean and flush the water from the system.
The school district has also discussed drilling a new well. The water supply will be sanitized this week and retesting will be done on Friday. School is expected to open on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
The superintendent promised to keep parents updated through phone calls and on the school's website. That site can be found here.
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