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Students at St. Louis area elementary school switch to virtual learning after pipe burst

District officials are doing further testing for mold in the school after a water pipe burst on Christmas Day.

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — Students at Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary School are going to school virtually, Monday, after an unexpected, extended winter break.

Students and staff were supposed to go to school in-person, Monday. Instead, they were notified that air quality issues following a pipe burst on Christmas Day will force students to go back to school virtually, for now.

It was determined additional clean-up efforts are needed due to unacceptable levels of mold in the air.

In a video posted on the district website Sunday, superintendent Dr. Bonita Jamison said the district met with contractors to further understand the levels of mold spores reported in some areas of the building after an air quality assessment on Thursday.

The pipe burst happened on Christmas Day, right inside the main doors of the school, and damage was extensive. Affected areas included 19 classrooms, offices and the gymnasium floor.

Jamison said district officials will figure out next steps after getting results from additional testing on Monday.

“Because the air quality in some areas of the school did not fall into the acceptable range the decision was made to transition students back, virtually, until we receive confirmation that the air quality in our school meets the standard,” Jamison said.

Jamison said if the air quality report indicates it is not safe to return to school, district officials are working on an alternative plan to provide "in-person instruction, off-campus."

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