Diesel fumes force classroom evacuation at Three Oaks High School, says PSB

Students at Three Oaks High School in Summerside were removed from a classroom on Friday morning after diesel exhaust from a boom-lift made its way into the ventilation system, the Public Schools Branch says.

Some students went home with headaches, parents say

Questions about the air quality at Three Oaks have been raised in the past as the school undergoes a major renovation. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Students at Three Oaks High School in Summerside were removed from a classroom on Friday morning after diesel exhaust from a boom-lift made its way into the ventilation system, the Public Schools Branch (PSB) says.

The exhaust caused some odour for about five to 10 minutes in one classroom, and there was no danger to staff or students, according to a note from the school that was sent to parents.

John Cummings, director of corporate services for the PSB, said air was tested for carbon monoxide and other material shortly after the students were removed from the class. He said the tests showed the air quality was safe, and students will be allowed back in the class on Monday.

Cummings said the boom-lift was operating on the outside of the building, part of the major ongoing renovation at the school.

Mindful of air intakes

He said going forward, construction workers will be mindful not to operate equipment close to where the air intakes are located.

I understand they want to get this done as quick as possible but it's putting our children and the staff at risk.— Amanda Gallant

"It was an isolated incident and I think the folks at the school handled it very well and that they reacted quickly and the problem was resolved quickly as well," he said.

Debbie Banks said her son, a Grade 11 student at the school, came home Friday at lunchtime with a headache and did not return to school.

Another parent, Amanda Gallant, said her daughter, who is in Grade 10, called her Friday morning saying the school "reeked."

'Time to come home'

"I told her it was time to come home," she said. "She was only in the school for about 15 minutes and by the time she got home she had the start of a headache. I had to give her Tylenol and her stomach was upset."

Questions about the air quality at Three Oaks have been raised in the past during the renovations. Gallant said she doesn't think construction should be happening during school hours.

"I understand they want to get this done as quick as possible but it's putting our children and the staff at risk."

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