Thompson ventilation issues send students home early

Thompson School

With an abundance of caution during a lessening pandemic, school officials Monday, Nov. 15, sent students home early at Thompson after ventilation issues drew concerns.

Parents were not immediately informed, and that led to questions on social media that day.

Superintendent Elizabeth Homan responded Tuesday, Nov. 16, after YourArlington received no answer from Thompson Principal Karen Donato.

“We released Thompson elementary school early yesterday [at 11:45 a.m.] due to concerns about the ventilation system. We had evidence that while rooms were receiving adequate outdoor and filtered air, the exhaust may not have been functioning properly,” she wrote.

“Further assessment indicated that the exhaust was working, but when we turn on the heat, sometimes the system compensates to maintain heat in the building by pulling air into exhaust vents at a reduced rate.

“We have tweaked the settings, and everything is fully operational up to our expected specifications today (4 air exchanges per hour, or an exchange of each room's air every 15 minutes).

“We will always act in the interest of student safety, and wanted to be confident that our rooms were appropriately ventilated when we discovered the concern.”

School ventilation system have been a focus since the Covid-19 pandemic began in Arlington, in March 2020. 

Thompson School was open Tuesday for its regular hours. 

Dr. Homan said parents were told about these issues, as was school staff, later Monday.

YourArlington learned about the early dismissal at noon Monday, when Arlington recreation emailed parent that there would be no pickup for Kid Care for Thompson students because of early dismissal. The notice did not give a reason for the dismissal.

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This news announcement was published Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2021.