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Frozen pipes at Whittier Elementary School trigger remote learning this week

Frozen pipes at Whittier Elementary School
Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 19:46:06-05

GREAT FALLS — Work was underway Tuesday to thaw out and fix pipes at Whittier Elementary School in Great Falls after the pipes froze, following nearly a week of sub-zero temperatures.

Plumbers were busy in the boiler room at Whittier Elementary School Tuesday, trying to get the school's pipes usable again.

"I had some teachers that were in the building yesterday working and thats how we found out,” said Corri Smith, the principal, who rushed to the school when the frozen pipes were discovered.

“(I) spent most of the afternoon here yesterday trying to come up with a plan,” Smith said. That plan was to switch to switch to remote learning for the rest of the week. "Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, the school has had a lot of practice switching to remote learning, as have all schools, thanks to the pandemic."

A packet and laptop pickup was set up in the school's gym Tuesday afternoon so students could get what they need to learn the rest of the week.

"Teachers will have assigned Zoom time with their kiddos so that we're not overlapping. So families, if we have multiple kids in multiple grades,” said Smith. "I look at it as an opportunity, you're right, to learn and to make sure our staff is strong. They are. We're ready and we can handle what comes our way."

Why the pipes froze, how much damage was done, and how long any repairs will take was still being assessed Tuesday.

They hope to have students back by February 22.

Grab-and-go meals are being provided to students while they learn remotely. They can be picked up at the Paris Gibson Education Center from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day. You are asked to call the center 406-268-6047 by 9:30 a.m. each day if you’d like a meal.