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Ridge Road Elementary School students had a graduation of sorts last week, courtesy of pipes that burst during the recent cold snap. During the three days the school was closed (Jan. 6 to 8), students got a good look at upper grade levels as their classes shifted the middle and high schools.
School Superintendent Robert Cronin said the water line burst at Ridge Road on Sunday evening, Jan. 5, dumping four feet of water in the basement that also spilled over into the heating system.
More than 400 Ridge Road students were sent to the middle and high school to attend classes on Jan. 7 and 8, with kindergarten, 1st-, 2nd-, and integrated class students at the middle school and grades 3, 4, and 5 at the high school.
Students were set up in gymnasiums, libraries, and classrooms in both schools.
Reflecting on "a pretty crazy week," Cronin said what sticks with him most "is the incredible job that everyone at the high school and middle school did to make the students and staff feel right at home."
Cronin said, "I will forever be grateful to all the teachers and staff for being so accommodating to everyone from Ridge Road. It was really incredible."
The schools boss joked about the Ridge Road students' attitude about the emergency.
"They kind of looked at the whole thing like it was a field trip," he said.
Ridge Road students, who did miss school completely on Jan. 6, were picked up at their normal bus stops and taken to the appropriate building, where the staff was waiting on Jan. 7 and 8.
Parents who typically drop off their child each morning were also able drop him or her at the Ridge Road School front entrance, where staff was waiting.
Children who were dropped by parents and who are walkers were escorted by staff to board the bus to go to the middle and high schools.
At dismissal time, the children were transported back to Ridge Road School for pick up. All children who regularly ride the bus were dismissed at the usual time and dropped off at their normal bus stops.
Cronin said the overall goal "was to keep the school day as normal as possible for the kids, the teachers, the staff-everyone."
"And, despite some long days and long meetings," he said, "we were able to accomplish that."
While Ridge Road is back in operation, there are still some minor repairs being done to the heating system, Cronin said. He said the cost of the repair work hasn't yet been calculated, "but thankfully we have insurance."