Amid single-digit temperatures across the region, officials closed several Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGPCPS) for maintenance problems as well as the Prince George’s County Courthouse due to flooding. As of Monday, the courthouse remained closed because of flooding that occurred after a pipe burst Thursday morning. The break caused electrical damage and a power […]
Amid single-digit temperatures across the region, officials closed several Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGPCPS) for maintenance problems as well as the Prince George’s County Courthouse due to flooding.
As of Monday, the courthouse remained closed because of flooding that occurred after a pipe burst Thursday morning. The break caused electrical damage and a power outage for the building, said Terri Charles, a Maryland Judiciary spokeswoman.
Officials closed the courthouse Thursday as well as Friday so workers could properly fix the problem, she said. Because of the power outage and closure, no trials were heard Friday in the District Court and Circuit Court. District Court bond hearings were instead held at the Hyattsville location, and the Prince George’s County detention center hosted the Circuit Court bond hearings.
Crews are continuing to work at the Upper Marlboro courthouse to repair damage and restore power, Charles said, and it is not known when repairs will be completed.
The school system announced Thursday evening schools would open on Friday with a two-hour delay. The system also announced the closure of Benjamin D. Foulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy, Chapel Forge Early Childhood Center, Northview Elementary School and Barack Obama Elementary Schools because of heating issues. On Monday the school system closed H. Winship Wheatley Early Childhood Center for “maintenance issues.”
“We’ve been doing all we can to make sure we continue instruction,” said Keesha Bullock, chief communications officer for PGPCPS. “We’re doing everything that we can to respond to the weather that we’re having.”
The school system tries to keep all buildings at 68 degrees, Bullock said, and when the temperature inside a school gets lower maintenance workers start to look to make repairs.
Gwynn Park High School remained open today but experienced heating problems while students reported on social media they were experiencing low temperatures circulating throughout the school.
Bullock said while there has been heat throughout the week in the school, the “historic low temperatures” in the region caused temperatures to decrease in several buildings.
“We’ve had fluctuating temperatures in [Gwynn Park],” she said. “We’ve been able to stabilize it and the temperature is rising.”
Workers identified the heat problems in the other schools and realized it would take longer to make repairs, which resulted in the school closures, Bullock said. Gwynn Park was at a normal temperature in the morning, she said, but it was too close to dismissal by the time the temperature dipped to send students home efficiently.
Each school has custodial staff on site as well as administration maintenance workers for additional assistance, Bullock said, and they will work throughout the weekend to fix the problems.
Building and heating systems are like cars, Bullock said, and they need constant maintenance and repairs throughout the years but do need to be repaired when a problem arises.
“I don’t think there’s any other contributing factor to this other than the fact that we’re having historic low temperatures,” she said. “We’re going to keep our natural course with facilities maintenance in place and will make repairs when we have to.”
Although Gwynn Park High School dismissed regularly at 2:15 p.m., Principal Tracie Miller sent an email to students’ parents and guardians to inform them of the heating problem and to let them know she would grant excused absences for students who left school early or stayed home.
“We’ll be working through the weekend to make sure that all our buildings are ready for school on Monday,” Bullock said.
Earlier in the week Baden Elementary School also experienced a heating problem and officials sent its students to Gwynn Park High School for the day while workers made the repair, which Bullock said they have since completed.
Although schools have experienced heat-related problems, Bullock said parents and students should not have concern because it’s not a “widespread heating outage.”