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Fountain Lake, Jessieville schools remain closed because of water issues

by John Anderson | February 23, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
The Fountain Lake School District remained closed to on-campus instruction on Monday and will be closed again today and Wednesday due to water issues. - Photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

The Jessieville and Fountain Lake school campuses will remain closed to in-person instruction today and Wednesday as the North Garland County Regional Water District works to restore water to the two school districts.

"Due to our tanks still being at critical levels and a Precautionary Boil Order being issued in the Fountain Lake area, we ask that Fountain Lake campuses remain closed" today and Wednesday, the water district said in an email to Fountain Lake School District officials.

Fountain Lake Superintendent Michael Murphy said only a few select people are on campus, such as the maintenance employees checking buildings and facilities.

"The latest email that we've observed is they are beginning to turn water sections back on, and they're evaluating the level of water pressure. I think the intention is trying to rebuild the water capacity and water pressure to restore services," he said.

Fountain Lake's varsity girls basketball game against Arkadelphia will be held at Cutter Morning Star's Eagle Arena at 6 p.m.

"We appreciate Cutter Morning Star working with us to let us play this game at their facility," said Fountain Lake athletic director Marc Davis.

Monday afternoon, Jessieville Superintendent Melissa Speers posted a notice on the school district's Facebook page saying concerns that the campus would be without water prompted the decision to close the campus today and Wednesday.

"I've been in touch with North Garland County, and they're still working on the situation. ... More than likely, we won't have (school) Tuesday or Wednesday," Speers told The Sentinel-Record earlier in the day.

Jessieville will be under a boil order once the water is back on and sustained, she said.

"I don't want to get students there on Wednesday if I am not 100% certain that we're going to be able to keep water on all day long," Speers said.

Once the water is back on, the water district is recommending all users boil their water until they can test it to ensure that nothing is in the water because of the leaks.

"It has an opportunity for groundwater or other kinds of bacteria to get in the waterline. So then it comes (into) your home or in the school. So they recommend that you boil it before you drink it or cook with it," Speers said.

"We're being patient with the water department. I believe that they're doing everything in their power. I would beg and plead people to please check at your home, check at your place of business, if you have leaks, shut the water off," she said.

In Monday's Facebook post, Speers said all students should follow their normal schedule and "participate in classes virtually as these will be considered school days. Please review the Catastrophic Learning Option/Plan for student expectations."

"If you do not have internet access in your home, you may access a community hotspot by pulling into the parking lot of the Jessieville School District Foshee Building, the parking lot of the Cedar Mountain Boys and Girls Club, or the parking lot of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church on Hwy 298 to access the Jessieville School Wi-Fi," Speers said.

"If your student is having problems getting work completed, please make sure to communicate with your student's teacher(s) and complete the work assigned as soon as possible," she said.

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