UMATILLA, Oregon – Classes resume on their regular schedule today at Clara Brownell Middle School and Umatilla High School following an evacuation Thursday morning of both schools because of a natural gas leak in the science wing of the middle school.
Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe said the leak was reported at 8:35 a.m. The decision was made to evacuate both schools because of their proximity to each other. Mid-Columbia Bus Company sent buses so that the students could keep warm.
A crew from the gas company responded and informed Sipe that the repairs would take some time. At that point, she decided to engage the district Reunification Plan and the evacuated students were transported to McNary Heights Elementary School. By 11:58 a.m., Sipe said most of the students had gone home either with their parents or using other methods with their parents’ permission. The remaining students helped out at the elementary school and were bused home with those students when classes were dismissed.
Sipe said the emergency plan ran smoothly and thanked staff, students, and parents for their cooperation and patience.
“Today was a day of stress, but also a day of great thankfulness,” she wrote in a prepared statement. “Our students and staff are safe, our building is repaired and safe for occupancy, and our community showed its strength. How fortunate I feel to work for the families of Umatilla alongside amazing staff and partners.”