Clovis schools to re-open after mercury scare

Clovis East High School (pictured here) and Reyburn Intermediate are set to re-open after the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. Mercury exposure forced the schools to cancel classes Friday. (Clovis Unified School District)

Following the weekend clean up by representatives from the Fresno County Department of Health, Environmental Protection Agency and PARC Environmental, the campuses of Clovis East High and Reyburn Intermediate are ready to re-open Tuesday (Jan. 16) as scheduled.

This comes after last week’s health scare when a student brought loose mercury to school, forcing the schools to close Friday.

“The expansive and immediate response by our school site leaders, Fresno County Department of Public Health, and our local law enforcement and public safety personnel is a testament to the priority placed on the safety of our students,” Clovis Unified School District said in a news release. “The quick response by the Environmental Protection Agency officials, even in the face of the massive public health fire, flood and mudslide clean-ups the agency is engaged in around the state, is especially appreciated by our District leadership.

“School staff has been in direct communication with any staff members or families of students directly or peripherally impacted by this incident to ensure they are kept well informed of mitigation work throughout the past five days. We are pleased to be able to assure our community with certainty that the campuses are cleared of any remnant of this metal, and look forward to resuming school on schedule Tuesday morning.”
Public health officials tested every room on the campuses and confirmed that they are clean of mercury.

Mitigation work included removing carpeting and room contents from a handful of classrooms, and cleaning hard surfaces. Assessments were completed before and after the mitigation efforts to confirm the clean-up job was effective at removing all of the metal from classrooms and a sidewalk on campus.

Two classrooms require complete re-carpeting, and classes that meet in these rooms have been relocated for the coming week. One other classroom had carpet patched and will be re-carpeted in the coming weeks.

To date, there have been no adverse health effects related to the schools reported to Fresno County Department of Public Health.