UPDATED: Schirle, Harritt elementary schools reopen following water damage

Update, Tuesday, Jan. 23

School resumed Monday, Jan. 22, at Harritt and Schirle elementary schools after a closure Friday due to water damage from burst pipes during the ice storm.

Schirle’s music room will remained closed for several weeks for repairs, said Aaron Harada, district spokesman. Harritt’s gym, cafeteria and kitchen were cleared for use Tuesday morning.

“There are likely some ongoing repair work that will need to be addressed, but we are glad that all spaces at Harritt are usable again,” Harada said in an email.

The Behavior Intervention Center, a small program in northeast Salem for students with special needs, remains closed following water damage, with classes being held at another location. They hope to reopen the building later this week, Harada said.

Original story:

Students in at least three schools will have a day off Friday due to damage from burst water pipes during Salem’s recent ice storm.

Schirle Elementary in south Salem and Harritt Elementary in west Salem will not have classes Friday, district spokesman Aaron Harada said. Neither will the district’s Behavior Intervention Center, a specialized program for about a dozen students located in a school in the Lake Labish area.

Salem-Keizer School District leaders have not yet decided whether to open other district schools Friday and will make a decision based on road conditions early Friday, Harada said.

School was canceled all week following an ice storm that left city roads slippery and dangerous. Ice began melting out Wednesday, but many residential streets and rural roads surrounding Salem remained iced over, prompting school cancellation Thursday.

At Schirle, water damaged the school’s music room and some classrooms. Harritt saw significant water damage to the school gym and common area. Maintenance workers have been assessing damage and working to make repairs, he said.

Harada said school employees would report to buildings tomorrow in part to see if they’re able to “shift spaces around to make school work” around damaged areas. The district hopes to open damaged schools Monday, he said.

District leaders haven’t yet determined whether snow days will be added to the school calendar at the end of the year to make up for closures this week. The decision depends on whether the district will fall below the minimum instructional hours required by the state.

Such decisions are typically made by spring break, he said.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

SUPPORT OUR WORK – We depend on subscribers for resources to report on Salem with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more. Click I want to subscribe!

Rachel Alexander is Salem Reporter’s managing editor. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She’s been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for a decade. Outside of work, she’s a skater and board member with Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.