Medomak Middle School opened its doors to students once more on Monday, Oct. 23, after issues with the well pump forced the school to close its doors for a week.
“It was a difficult start to the week,” said Superintendent Steve Nolan at the RSU 40 Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, Oct. 19, at which point the middle school had been closed since Oct. 16.
Nolan said staff at the school became aware of the issue just about at the time the buses started rolling to pick up students.
“We found ourselves scrambling to cancel school,” he said.
Nolan thanked RSU 40 Facilities Director Brian Race for the long hours he had put in to solve the issue and for the work he does to try to keep buildings open and running.
“The well pump failed, and we had to order a new one,” Race said on Monday, Oct. 23. He confirmed that the middle school had reopened to students that morning.
Race also said that the issue with the well pump was “unrelated” to the issue with the school’s water treatment system that similarly caused the school to shutter temporarily 18 months ago.
After that experience, Nolan noted, the school wanted to be “as prepared as we could to prevent a loss of instructional time” should a similar event happen again. Staff at the middle school was therefore ready to switch over to remote learning for the second half of the week, he said.
Though many factors can interfere, “our primary reason for being here is to help students learn,” Nolan said.
During the board’s audience with the public, bus driver Myrna Soule-Robins, of Union, gave an emotional address to the board, describing how staffing shortages led to her becoming Washington’s sole bus driver last year.
“It was challenging, it was almost 200 miles a day,” she said.
Soule thanked Prescott Memorial School Principal Crystal Boucher for “going above and beyond” to support her during that time.
“I couldn’t have done it without Crystal and the staff,” she said. “I’m telling you, (Crystal) knocks it out of the park.”
Soule-Robins said that the Prescott staff had given her a $200 gift to thank her for her hard work at the end of last school year, and she now wanted to pass that money along and donate it “to the kids that don’t have stuff, or towards library books.”
“My students are number one,” said Soule-Robins.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the RSU 40 Board of Directors will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2 at the district’s central office at 1070 Heald Highway in Union.
A public hearing for the proposed $81 million dollar capital improvement bond will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26 at Medomak Valley High School. For more information, call 785-2277 or go to rsu40.org.