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Air quality issues force early dismissal at Corner Brook High two consecutive mornings

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Latest News. - The Western Star

After being sent home early Wednesday morning because of an air-quality issue, students a Corner Brook Regional High School were sent home again Thursday morning because the problem was not fully rectified.

A request for an interview with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District to explain the situation was not granted.

According to an emailed response from the school board, maintenance work on the gymnasium floor that had been scheduled to be done during the Christmas break could not be completed until this week because the arrival of some of the products needed was delayed due to inclement weather affecting transportation.

The floor was finished with a product called Marathane-351, a low-odour product used instead of traditional oil products specifically to maintain air quality in schools, though the school board said it recognizes some individuals may still have sensitivities to it.

When an odour was detected Wednesday morning, the school administration decided to dismiss students early and allow more time for ventilation. This occurred throughout the afternoon, but posed a challenge in the evening, given the challenging weather conditions in the area.

Ventilation resumed in the early hours of Thursday morning to the point that it was believed the building was suitable for students to return.

As classes resumed Thursday morning, though, a number of people identified similar concerns as the previous day, which prompted another early dismissal.

The district said it engaged a certified industrial hygienist to measure the levels throughout the building Thursday. Of the 70 areas measured, two — the stairwell off the gym and the storage room outside the gym — were marginally above the level where Health Canada recommends action.

Ventilation in the school continued throughout the day, allowing for a good flow of air to move through the building.

The school district said the plan is to have the certified industrial hygienist resample these areas this morning before school opens to confirm all levels are acceptable and to ensure classes can resume.

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