Classes cancelled at Clovis East, Reyburn Intermediate due to mercury exposure

Classes at Clovis East High School (pictured here) and Reyburn Intermediate were cancelled Friday as a precautionary measure for mercury exposure. (Clovis Unified School District)

Clovis Unified School District announced last night that Clovis East High School and Reyburn Intermediate school will be closed today, Jan. 12.

The decision to temporarily close the schools was made in conjunction with the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the Environmental Protection Agency as a precautionary measure, and to allow for on-going assessment and clean-up of classrooms that may have been impacted by the presence of loose mercury brought to school by a student. There is no evidence that Reagan Elementary School is impacted and will remain open.

The district worked with law enforcement to investigate this incident to its source and made individual contact tonight with the small number of students known to have come into contact with this mercury.

“At this time, no one has reported suffering from symptoms of mercury exposure,” Clovis Unified stated in a news release. “Out of an abundance of caution, we also wanted to inform the entire school community of the symptoms of mercury exposure. If any student or staff members experience rash-like skin irritation, burning in the nose, or breathing difficulty, please seek medical attention immediately. Washing your hands and making sure any clothes worn to school today are washed are also ways to prevent skin irritation from mercury.

“No mercury is stored on campus and our investigation to this point has indicated that the mercury was brought to school by a student. If a student or staff member believes that they may have come in contact with the loose mercury, which is a silver, molten substance that looks like a ball bearing, please take steps to minimize any continued exposure. If anyone has reason to believe that they have loose mercury in their home, they should contact 911 to coordinate disposal of this substance.”

Co-curricular activities currently planned to occur at the high school or intermediate school Friday will be held in relocated venues. CUSD will keep the parent and staff community updated using its automated telephone, email and text systems as the clean-up and assessment is completed.

Classes are expected to continue as regularly scheduled as of Tuesday, Jan. 16.