FARMINGTON — The Mallett School will reopen Wednesday, Feb. 16, after a malfunctioning boiler cut the heat to the 70-year-old elementary school overnight.

Approximately 400 students were bused to nearby schools Tuesday, with kindergarten and first-graders going to Cascade Brook School and second- and third-graders transported to Mt. Blue Middle School. The children were bused home after lunch.

“Teachers had enough time to get some materials together so the kids could do some simple work until it was time for them to leave,” said Leanne Condon, director of curriculum who oversaw the operation.

Teachers, using the phone numbers on the emergency contact cards, called parents and caregivers to alert them to the situation and make sure someone would be home when the child got off the bus.

A few children remained until the end of the school day when no one could be reached, she said.

There were no mishaps and the shuffling of students and buses went according to plan, Condon said.

The steps in the emergency procedure were laid out in the district’s operations policy.

“It was a nonemergency emergency,” she said.

“It was very hectic for parents and staff, and the secretaries at each school were swamped with calls,” Condon said. “Teachers and staff did very well.”

David Leavitt, the director of facilities for Mt. Blue Regional School District, said the lack of heat was reported at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday when the building registered only 62 degrees, the level the thermostat is set at overnight.

By that time, it was too late to alert parents so buses picked up kids as usual and took them to the new sites.

The disruption in the bus schedule also meant the afternoon prekindergarten class with 16 children, which meets at a facility on Maguire Street, had to be canceled. Staff also had to notify those parents of the change, Condon said.

A replacement switch was finally found for the old unit, and the boiler was repaired by heating contractor Thayer Corp. of Lewiston by Tuesday afternoon.


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