Abingdon Elementary School closes early after mechanical failures

Students attending Abingdon Elementary School were dismissed at 1:30 p.m. Monday, following a mechanical failure at the school, according to Lindsay Bilodeau, spokesperson for Harford County Public Schools.

The building shut down for repairs, Bilodeau said in an email, and the YMCA after care program was not open for students.

Bilodeau said there were no safety concerns for students because of the mechanical failure.

"We are not sure about the specifics of the situation, as crews are over there now working to repair the problem," Bilodeau said Monday afternoon.

According to Harford Fire Blog on Facebook, the school closed because it didn't have heat.

Bilodeau said crews would continue to work on the system overnight.

In anticipation of low temperatures overnight Monday and into Tuesday, Teri Kranefeld, manager of communications for Harford County Public Schools, said the school system facilities department issued precautionary checklists to all building crews.

"Colder, fluctuating temperatures can cause a weakness in the [mechanical] system," Kranefeld said in an email.

"Extreme shifts in temperature can cause strain on any heating, cooling system," Kranefeld said in an email. "However, the preventive maintenance program proactively keeps our mechanical systems running efficiently where possible."

To adequately maintain equipment, Kranefeld said necessary upgrade and renovation projects require funding, which is part of the HCPS capital budget request.

Kranefeld said the school system was not notified the school did not have heat until the staff entered the building prior to the start of the two-hour school delay Monday morning.

Parents were notified via call, email and text notification 30 minutes before the early dismissal, Kranefeld said. She said school officials always stay in the building until "the last child is picked up and make arrangements for parents who can not get there right away."

Kranefeld said the school system has an emergency dismissal procedure, which Abingdon Elementary School followed Monday afternoon. She said each emergency is different, however, and the timeline of events may vary.

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