Vestal Hills Elementary School Back Open After Carbon Monoxide Evacuation

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Updated: 9/29/21 – 5:51 P.M.

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) — Vestal Hills Elementary School was evacuated Wednesday morning due an elevated level of carbon monoxide in the building.

A Vestal Central School District spokesperson said the toxic gas was first detected at 6 a.m.

(Photo courtesy of Vestal Central School District)

Many parents were notified early enough to keep their kids home from school. Remaining students were brought to the auditorium at nearby African Road Elementary School, to be picked up by their families. By noon, nearly all 370 students had returned home safely. 

Carbon monoxide can build up when certain fuels are burned in enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation. Prolonged exposure to the gas can cause death and long term heart and brain damage. Younger children are especially susceptible.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the district identified the issue as a regulator on the secondary boiler. It said that boiler has been shutdown by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) and air sampling of the building showed a zero-meter reading of carbon monoxide.

Officials at Vestal Hills expect to return to in-person learning on Thursday.*

*This story has been updated from the original version to reflect the evolving situation.