Cos Cob students to head back to class
Full cleanup to take longer
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.
A damaged classroom at Cos Cob School after a broken pipe caused flooding over the weekend.