Updated Monday at 10:34 p.m. with news that Finch will be closed tomorrow and students directed to another campus:
It appears Atlanta Public Schools handled the crisis well today at Finch Elementary where a faulty boiler is suspected of causing a carbon monoxide leak that sent students and staff to the hospital.
Forty-three students were taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding. A spokesperson for Grady Memorial Hospital said 10 adults were brought in for evaluation. No serious injuries were reported, though two adults may be kept overnight for observation at Grady.
Finch will be closed on Tuesday. Students are to report to Kennedy Elementary, according to APS spokesman Stephen Alford.
Superintendent Erroll Davis applauded Finch principal Carol Evans’ swift response in the wake of the incident, but acknowledged the district could improve.
“In all emergency situations, one of the things you find is that the calling trees are not up to date,” he said. “We had a safe place to take the students, but we have to work on a convening place for parents.”
During a school board meeting early Monday afternoon, board member Byron Amus recommended further work to prevent future communication issues.
“We need to continue to work with parents to make sure that all forms of communication are up to date,” Amus said.
Davis said officials are investigating the cause of the carbon monoxide leak.
“We suspect the issue started with the boiler,” Davis said.
Atlanta fire’s McDaniel said high levels of carbon monoxide were found near the school’s furnace. She said the carbon monoxide level, which was measured at 1,700 parts per million, was “one of the highest that Atlanta fire has ever seen.”
The school was built in 2004 and opened the following year without carbon monoxide detectors in place. Glenn Allen, a spokesman for the state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens, said schools are not required by state law to have carbon monoxide detectors. Larry Hoskins, the deputy superintendent for operations, said the boiler passed a state-certified inspection last year and wasn’t due for another inspection until 2013.
“One of the things we’re going to look at is whether we need to implement the use of carbon monoxide detectors,” Hoskins said.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog