Flooding leads to two day distance learning for EHS students

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Madeline Brandel

Edina High School reverts to distance learning as the school recovers from mechanical flooding

Urva Jha, page editor

Edina High School will administer distance learning on Jan. 4 and 5 due to flooding in the east wing, initially discovered on Sunday during a routine building check by custodians, according to an email sent by EHS administration to families. “On Sunday I got a call from our building custodian who said [the flooding] happened,” Principal Andy Beaton said. “There was some malfunction with cold air, a damper that didn’t close… so it ended up freezing a pipe and the sprinkler system broke and flooded water on the third floor… just going downhill it went through the floors.”

The news of flooding broke at 12:42 p.m. Sunday, as students and teachers started preparing for school. “We all stopped what we were doing and went into the school to grab stuff and then started talking to each other and planning, working on our Schoology pages,” EHS teacher Lindsey Smaka said. “So that has been hard on teachers today. Pretty stressful, trying to get everything up and going when we were not expecting to work today.

After a year and a half of instability caused by distance learning and a hybrid model, EHS administration is prepared for the next two days. “We’re better equipped now to do this kind of transition for a couple of days than we were when we first [started doing] distance learning,” Beaton said. 

Teachers also have practice with unstable switches within school models, helping them organize for switches like Tuesday. “So for [Tuesday], I’m able to go into the archives and find old virtual lessons we are able to use. So that would [be] the silver lining of COVID, is that we have all of this timeline, [a] curriculum developed and ready to go,” Smaka said.

Amid rumors that distance learning would come back due to rising COVID cases, students have mixed reactions to the announcement. “I expected because of COVID we might go online… but [the flooding] just came out of nowhere, so I was surprised to hear that we’re going virtual,” senior Ryan Chaffee said. 

Overall, Edina is prepared for the obstacles the Minnesota weather throws at them. “Teachers, students, and our custodial crew will have the biggest adjustment,” Assistant Principal Jenny Johnson said as she continued to thank the custodians for their work.