School officials say the back-to-back maintenance issues that closed Barack Obama Elementary School in Upper Marlboro for two non-consecutive days late last month have now been fixed, but the closures left some parents scratching their heads.
“It’s a relatively new school, so I was surprised that they were closed,” said Arletta Love of Upper Marlboro, whose daughter, Aniya, is in the fifth grade.
The $18 million school, which incorporates eco-friendly design elements that include low-flow sinks and toilets and a geothermal heat pump system, opened in the fall of 2010.
Frigid temperatures led to both a power failure that left the school without heat on Feb. 18 and a burst water pipe that caused flooding in one portion of the school Feb. 20, according to Sherrie A. Johnson, a spokeswoman for Prince George’s County Public Schools.
Chapel Forge Early Childhood Education Center in Bowie; Northview Elementary School in Bowie and Benjamin Fulois Creative and Performing Arts Academy in Suitland were also closed due to heat and electrical issues Feb. 20, according to Johnson.
Obama Elementary was closed on both days, and Johnson wrote in an email that the issues were resolved and officials don’t expect further problems.
But further maintenance issues weren’t really a concern for Love. Instead, she wanted to know how the school would make up the class time the students lost due to the closures.
School administrators declined to comment, directing all inquiries to the school system’s communications office.
Johnson said that individual schools don’t make up class time lost due to emergency closures like the ones at Obama Elementary.
“It’s a great school, I just don’t understand while they’re having heating issues when it’s a newer school,” said Tonya Fellrath of Upper Marlboro, whose son, Alex, is in the fifth grade.