UPDATE: Hood To Remain Closed Despite Earlier Notice

UPDATE: Hood To Remain Closed Despite Earlier Notice

By Geena Martinez

NewsWest 9

ODESSA - One week after a mercury exposure closed the campus, Hood Jr. High will remain closed. The school district said earlier Monday that the school would re-open Tuesday, but crews aren't done cleaning up the mess just yet. ECISD did not give a reason for the continued delay.

"Its been a week of turning schedules upside down and deliveries and food and transportation and really just turning people's lives topsy turvy," Mike Adkins, Public Information Officer for ECISD, said.

Although air qualities appear to be fine, a section at the front of the school will still be sealed off while clean up crews focus on the floor.

"The mercury that's still on the floor, if not cleaned completely and properly, can then continue to give off vapors," Adkins said. "Those vapors over a long period of time is what begins to present a health risk."

So far it's cost ECISD more than $106,500 to clean up the mess and that number is expected to rise.

"We have been taking our direction from the start from the crew and from the Environmental Protection Agency which has all of this spelled out in its guidelines on how to handle this," Adkins said. "We certainly don't have any expertise in this."

There's no word on what punishment the student who brought the mercury may face.

"With the disruption and the cost there certainly will be consequences to bringing a substance like that to school," Adkins said.

The incident is the first item of discussion on Tuesday's school board meeting and representatives from the cleaning company will give an update.

Overall officials just want to say thank you to parents, students and staff.

"I really think everyone has handled this really well because this has been quite an ordeal," Adkins said.

In a statement ECISD says,

"We are in the process of notifying everyone we will need to return to the schedule we used today with JBH classes taking place at New Tech Odessa, Hood's Special Ed unit at Sam Houston Elementary, the Culinary Arts classes will meet at Odessa College, and the Health Sciences classes meeting at Permian High School instead of the NTO campus."