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Schools closed over roof concerns

February 4, 2011

PAWTUCKET — Concern about the snow and ice build-up on the roofs of the city's schools has prompted the schools superintendent to call off school today so the matter can be addressed.
Schools Supt. Deborah Cylke said she made the decision after consulting with both the city's building official and a structural engineer who had been asked to assess the load bearing weights of each of the schools' roofs in the current snow and ice conditions.
Cylke said that while there were no visual signs that any of the roofs were in danger, there were concerns expressed by both city Building Official John Hanley and a hired structural engineer about the amount of snow that had accumulated on many of the roofs.
Cylke said that today and Saturday, if need be, certified roofers will visit each of the 15 public schools to clear off the snow and ice and ensure that all of the drains are open. She said that given the age of the school buildings (the newest school was constructed in 1978), there was some concern about the additional weight that could come from “pooling” of water from any more rain or melting that occurs.
Cylke added that Friday's snow day makes a total of seven school days that will have to be made up. She said she has been in contact with the Rhode Island Department of Education to discuss the options, which include adding additional time on to the school days or adding days on to the end of the school year.
She said she will be meeting with the school principals and members of the teachers union next week to talk about a plan of action, which will then be submitted to RIDE for approval.


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