Jenks Middle School students have not been in the school since before Thanksgiving, and the district says it’s taking a long time to fix several gas leaks there.
The district said, if it weren’t for the gas leaks, students would be learning in-person, because leaders said their COVID-19 numbers are low enough.
Outside Jenks Middle School, students and parents continue to pick up their lesson packets from their teachers as distance learning goes on for a reason other than COVID-19. Inside the building, district leaders said the temperature hovers around 55 degrees, because the gas is off while Mullin Plumbing works on the problem.
"So it's a little chilly,” Spokesperson Rob Loeber said.
Loeber said the problem is complex. He said the first issue is the size of the school, which is the largest in the district. With miles of gas lines underground and throughout the building, Loeber said it's a tough job to track down several "micro leaks."
"Once they are identified and the whole system can be pressurized for a test, that pressurization can then cause other, tiny leaks to appear,” he said.
With the exception of some special education students, who are learning in person with space heaters to keep warm, Loeber said students have not been in the classroom since November 13. In an email to parents, the district said the contractors began working to identify the leaks on the 12th. The district said it does not fault its contracted workers.
In a statement, Mullin Plumbing said, "Our crews have been working diligently to make all of the necessary repairs. We have been working together with ONG and the City of Tulsa to meet the requirements to restore gas to the school. We appreciate everyone's patience regarding the safe completion of this project."
Loeber said the district wants to get kids back in the classroom as soon as possible, and sympathizes with parents.
"We are just as frustrated as you are,” Loeber said.
The district's goal is to get students back in the classroom on January 19.