Windsor Elementary toilet trouble resolved after it leads to early dismissal Feb. 7

Published 12:22 am Friday, February 10, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Toilet trouble at Windsor Elementary School led to much of Tuesday, Feb. 7, being a missed day for students and a busy day for Isle of Wight County Schools staff, which worked to resolve the trouble, with some help from outside vendors, and to clean and sanitize the school and affected school grounds.

Instruction was able to resume at WES on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, IWCS spokeswoman Lynn B. Briggs announced that Windsor Elementary’s bathrooms were not functioning properly due to a septic issue.

She elaborated Thursday morning, Feb. 9, with information that staff shared with the Isle of Wight County School Board.

“Tuesday morning, WES reported issues with toilets not flushing and overflowing water from toilets,” she shared. “A decision was made to close the school due to the situation.”

A Tuesday IWCS news release noted that school buses would depart WES around 11 a.m. to take children home, and parents could pick up their children anytime prior to dismissal.

Continuing, on Thursday, to share information that staff conveyed to the board, Briggs stated that the maintenance crew alleviated the overflows inside of the school by opening all relief valves. 

“After the water subsided, Roto-Rooter provided sewer jet line services to clear the flow of all debris,” she shared. “Next, an additional outside vendor was called to scope the line to ensure that there was no damage to the sewer line.”

She indicated that IWCS was still awaiting the full report from that vendor.

“All classrooms and bathrooms were thoroughly cleaned and sanitized,” she stated. “All outside hard surfaces, such as sidewalks impacted by the outflow from the relief valves, were power washed.”

Maintenance staff applied 600 pounds of pelletized lime to all outside areas exposed to the outflow, she stated. 

To Briggs’ knowledge, the septic issue that WES faced in this instance was unprecedented in the school’s history.

“I am not aware of a similar incident at Windsor Elementary, although they did close early on the first day of school in 2019 due to a water pressure issue,” she said.

Because time is built into the school-year schedule to allow for interruptions, like snow days, Briggs affirmed that, for now, Windsor Elementary will not need to add extra instructional time to make up for the time missed Tuesday.