Cos Cob stu­dents to head back to class

Full cleanup to take longer

Greenwich Time - - FRONT PAGE - By Jo Kroeker

GREEN­WICH — Classes will re­sume Mon­day for Cos Cob stu­dents af­ter the school was closed all this week due to a bro­ken faucet that caused ex­ten­sive dam­age to the build­ing.

But Green­wich Pub­lic School ad­min­is­tra­tors ex­pect the full cleanup, re­me­di­a­tion and restora­tion of the build­ing to take un­til the end of De­cem­ber, of­fi­cials an­nounced Thurs­day evening at a meeting with par­ents of stu­dents at the ele­men­tary school.

In­terim Su­per­in­ten­dent Ralph Mayo opened the meeting held in the Cen­tral Mid­dle School au­di­to­rium by thank­ing the Green­wich fire and po­lice de­part­ments and fac­ulty who re­sponded to the scene first.

Po­lice and fire of­fi­cials saved the build­ing from

fur­ther trou­ble and dam­age, Mayo said. Specif­i­cally, they cov­ered all elec­tron­ics, sal­vaging all the tech­nol­ogy. Di­rec­tor of Fa­cil­i­ties Dan Wat­son drove down from his home in Dan­bury and stayed at Cos Cob School all night af­ter the leak and flood were dis­cov­ered late Sun­day.

But even as the stu­dents re­turn to classes Mon­day, it won’t be back to nor­mal at Cos Cob School. Kin­der­gart­ners will be re­lo­cated to Park­way School, and the first and se­cond grades will be mov­ing to Old Green­wich School. The third-, fourt­hand fifth-graders will re­main at Cos Cob, us­ing the un­dam­aged class­rooms on the third floor.

Cos Cob School Prin­ci­pal Gene Sch­midt ex­plained to the par­ents the rea­sons be­hind the re­lo­ca­tion plan.

“We needed to keep the grades to­gether, we needed to keep teach­ers with stu­dents, and we achieved that with this plan,” Sch­midt said.

Cos Cob’s be­fore-school and af­ter-school care will re­main in place for par­ents who need to drop off their chil­dren early or pick them up late.

The school build­ing will func­tion as the bus stop for kids go­ing to other build­ings, Sch­midt said.

“Please get your kids there on time,” he said.

The buses will leave early to avoid school traf­fic, he said. Kinder­garten stu­dents will board a bus for Park­way at 7:50 a.m., and fir­stand se­cond-graders will board a bus for Old Green­wich at 8 a.m.

At the end of the day, buses will de­part the host schools at 2:50 p.m., and the Park­way bus will ar­rive around 3:15 p.m. and the Old Green­wich bus around 3:05 p.m.

Par­ents will have to park off-site, he said.

Steps have been taken to make the change in rou­tine as easy as pos­si­ble. The three buses will be col­or­coded and will have lists with first and fam­ily names and phone num­bers so ad­min­is­tra­tors can en­sure ev­ery child gets on the right bus, Sch­midt said.

Teach­ers and para­pro­fes­sion­als will ride with kids to their host schools, where ei­ther Sch­midt or as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Michael Reid will greet them.

The host schools will host a cof­fee hour for par­ents of K-2 stu­dents this Satur­day, Oct. 13, at 10:30 a.m.

The leak did not im­pact the third floor of Cos Cob, which has class­rooms for fourth grade and fifth grade as well as Span­ish. Third­grade stu­dents will join fourth- and fifth-graders on the third floor.

Teach­ers re­quested the move for third-graders be per­ma­nent to min­i­mize dis­rup­tion, Sch­midt said.

Mayo ral­lied the Cos Cob com­mu­nity at the meeting, telling the par­ents of his own con­nec­tion to the neigh­bor­hood.

“My story about Cos Cob is very sim­ple,” Mayo said. He and his preg­nant wife lived at 7 Bi­ble St., and when she had to go on bedrest, women in the com­mu­nity brought trays of food to their door. “That’s what Cos Cob is all about. If you’re just ar­riv­ing in Cos Cob, that’s what this com­mu­nity is about: we take care of each other, we help each other out.”

He told the crowd that the district, par­ents and stu­dents would hit some bumps dur­ing this dis­rup­tion.

“Call us, let us know, we’ll fix the bumps,” he said. “Thank you for putting your chil­dren in our trust, we will take good care of them.”

Last week­end, a sink in the se­cond floor art room broke, re­leas­ing a geyser of wa­ter that flowed for 20 hours, af­fect­ing a dozen rooms on the first and se­cond floors. Of­fi­cials shut­tered the school Sun­day night af­ter as­sess­ing the leak. They an­nounced Tues­day it would re­main closed through at least Fri­day.

In the mean­time, many par­ents are re­ly­ing on the both the Boys and Girls Club of Green­wich and YWCA Green­wich, both of which have of­fered free, full-day pro­grams through Fri­day.

The YWCA cared for about 40 kids on Thurs­day, up from 20 on Wed­nes­day, Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Joan Mock­ler said. The Boys & Girls Club, with the help of ad­di­tional staffing, Cos Cob teach­ers and school para­pro­fes­sion­als, hosted 117 stu­dents Thurs­day, up from 102 on Wed­nes­day, CEO Bobby Walker Jr. said.

Par­ents have sent the club emails thank­ing staff for tak­ing in their chil­dren, Walker said. “It val­i­dated the work my staff is do­ing,” he said.

The club re­lieved the Cos Cob prin­ci­pal’s bur­den.

“We wouldn’t have sur­vived with­out with­out their as­sis­tance,” Sch­midt said.

The YWCA can ac­com­mo­date about 120 stu­dents, Mock­ler said. The Boys and Girls Club can serve up to 500 stu­dents in to­tal, in­clud­ing its aver­age daily af­ter-school at­ten­dance of 330, Walker said.

Both pro­grams open at 8:30 a.m., and the YWCA ends at 6 p.m. while the Boys and Girls Club ends at 5 p.m.

Contributed photo / Green­wich Pub­lic Schools

A dam­aged class­room at Cos Cob School af­ter a bro­ken pipe caused flood­ing over the week­end.

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