NEW CITY, N.Y. (CBS 2) — It’s not every day you see students this excited to be at school after months of classes.
Students and teachers were forced out of Laurel Plains Elementary just a couple weeks into the school year when a horrible smell began making people sick.
“I had a very bad headache. You get a very metallic taste in your mouth,” said parent Michelle Hughes, who volunteers at the school.
For weeks, students were shuffled around as school administrators scrambled for a solution. First they were crammed into a high school auditorium, then moved to an unoccupied elementary school for the past seven weeks.
“It’s just a regular school, you know? It’s clean. They have it decorated. They have all their stuff from Laurel Plains,” said parent Dawn Filgite.
“Well at first it was exciting but then we realized we just wanted to come back to our old place,” said fourth grader Samantha Voglio.
Months of tests revealed a host of problems, from dead rodents to toxic chemicals, but the smell remained a mystery until recently. School administrators said the root cause was a back up in the sewer system and, more importantly, they said it was fixed.
“There were several changes made in the sewer system. It was found that two of our sewers did not have vents or traps and I think that was the key piece,” said principal Carol Pillar.
Environmental experts said there was almost no chance of any long-term damage from the toxins.
“Every decision that’s been made going forward has been based on scientific evidence,” said Maureen Sullivan, Assistant to the Superintendent.
“If they say so I’m totally comfortable with that,” said parent Wayne Brown.
Students were just happy to be back. “Because it’s so fun in here,” said first grader Keith Park.
Monday was the first day back for students but teachers have already spent several days here moving their supplies back in and getting their classrooms all ready.
The school district’s superintendent and her staff spent two weeks here working out of this building with no problems reported.